The predominant feeling of the day was one of being cross - with politicking, cross with the relentless attacks, and cross with the RMT union for having another strike on a drizzly Monday. Walking past the shuttered underground stations with my heavy bag, I sighed, but held back on the expletives, waited at the bus stop for nearly an hour, buses full, no taxis available. Last time, I walked to Parliament, but not today - carrying all my paraphernalia (I am not a Royal Marine or trying to gain my Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award!). My lovely husband came to the rescue en route to a meeting he was going to out of London - lovely man!
The atmosphere in Parliament was prickly and the anxiety palpable. I had drafted a lengthy statement last week in response to Susan Gray’s report but decided that it should wait until today - after our wonderful Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations. When news came out earlier in the morning about a no confidence vote in the Prime Minister, I decided to wait in order to update my response once the outcome of that vote is known (the vote is between 18:00–20:00 this evening). I did, however, draft a letter to be sent via email to Hastings and Rye Conservative Association members to let them know how I will be voting and why. I have to admit, I thought the days of Tory in-fighting over when Boris Johnston won an overwhelming majority in 2019. How can this be happening again? Are we hell bent on self-destruction? I know some members will not agree with me. This has been a decision which must be made with full consideration and understanding of the wider implications, not just shooting from the hip because I happen to be cross.
At lunchtime, I had a meeting with Hospice UK to consult with them about a Private Members’ Bill that I am hoping to introduce to enable palliative care leave to be made available for people whose close family members are dying from a terminal illness. There is no guarantee that I will get this Bill passed into law at all – I am number 19 on the list that was drawn for the related ballot - and it is usually only the top 7 or so on the list who manage to succeed. But, as the saying goes ‘If you try, you may succeed. If you don’t try, you will not succeed.’
I then attended an urgently called ‘Special Meeting of the 1922 Committee’ where the Prime Minister spoke to us. There was a huge amount of support and banging the tables for him, as well as a number of crossed arms and silence. He spoke to us and acknowledged the disappointment and concern many of his MPs felt. He asked for our support in the no confidence vote; we are stronger together and in unity working for the good of the British people – who need us to be focusing on them right now, rather than spending the next few weeks focusing on ourselves in Westminster. He admitted that the next few months are going to be difficult and that it will need our collective resolve to get through them, emphasising that it is the needs of voters who send us to Westminster that we must focus on, not in-fighting between ourselves. He spoke well and with a lot of sense, and the Prime Minister also outlined a welcome Conservative plan to take advantage of our new freedoms resulting from leaving the EU, cutting tax and costs, and driving growth following the struggles caused by the covid pandemic and global economic impact of Putin’s aggression in Ukraine. He reminded us about the action taken by this Government to shield the public from the worst effects of both the pandemic and the war in Ukraine too.
As of writing, the vote of no confidence is yet to conclude. Today was a difficult day. Tomorrow is another day.