Slings, arrows and compliments

CROSS-PARTY co-operation, if not friendship, was a welcome, if unexpected, discovery when I first entered the Commons. The hoo-ha of Prime Minister’s Questions doesn’t typify the chamber, most people are relieved to hear.

Kevin Brennan, Pete Wishart, Ian Cawsey and Greg Knight

MP4. From left: Kevin Brennan, Pete Wishart, Ian Cawsey and Greg Knight

Greg Knight, the popular Tory MP for East Yorkshire, has established a number of non-partisan friendships with other MPs down the years. He’s the unlikely drummer in MP4, whose members also include two Labour MPs and an SNP MP. Over a curry one evening, Greg proved himself highly entertaining and (more or less) discreet as he regaled us with tales from the whips’ office in the days of John Major’s premiership. He’s also, I was hugely impressed to discover, a close personal friend of Franki Valli of Four Seasons fame.

Greg has always had a keen interest in transport matters, so recently, when piloting the Channel Tunnel Rail Link Bill through the Commons, I found myself debating a particularly technical clause with him. He proposed a small but significant amendment, which I informed the House I would be willing to accept, since it seemed an eminently sensible one.

Gracious as ever, Greg took the opportunity of the Third Reading debate on the bill to thank me for my co-operation and expressed the hope that, come the next reshuffle, I would be promoted to Minister of State*. As he sat down, a senior ministerial colleague sitting further along the Treasury bench, leaned over and whispered: “That’s you f****d then, son!”

* Unusually for Hansard, they picked this up completely wrong, and it’s now in the official record as “Secretary of State”. Go figure.

Advertisements

14 Comments

Filed under Conservative Party, Department for Transport, Labour, Parliament

14 responses to “Slings, arrows and compliments

  1. An unfortunate turn of phrase indeed but I fear it is true just the same, young Tom. Time to join the LibDems? They seem to have a lot of money to spend…..

  2. Not to mention a better chance of being in Government 2 years from now 😉

    Sorry, I was kidding on that one. Couldn’t help it though.

    On another matter, I started a new blog devoted to politics, and I hope you don’t mind I added your blog to my blog-roll 🙂

  3. John

    So he was just confirming in a roundabout way that GB is immune from taking GOOD advice.

  4. Johnny Norfolk

    What a pity this attitude did not spread to the rest of the Labour party like that Harman woman. I think the Labour party needs to change its tone to non Labour people and the Tories in particular. Labour come across as vindictive and there is no need for it. You can be guilty of it Tom, as can I.

  5. Johnny – I hope I don’t come across as personally vindictive, but if the charge is being partisan, tribalist and determined to do everything possible to advance the Labour Party, then guilty.

  6. richard

    I think the current issue is that Labour MP’s are doing their best to advance the Labour party, rather than the country…

  7. Angelin

    Cross-party co-operation is admirable, and this is the one area of politics I can actually praise Gordon Brown for his relentless promotion of.
    He has single-handedly boosted the Conservative ratings more than any Labour politician(or Conservative) I could name.
    Indeed there are large numbers of Conservatives who openly pray he will remain as PM. 🙂

  8. T.H. – “Johnny – I hope I don’t come across as personally vindictive, but if the charge is being partisan, tribalist and determined to do everything possible to advance the Labour Party, then guilty.”

    I was wondering how much that guilt affects you in everyday life. I know it would me when I see the horrors in Afghanistan and Iraq, knowing that these wars were started purely on lies for the securing of oil reserves and pipelines and other commercial and geopolitical reasons.

    Unfortunately for you, it hasn’t advanced the Labour Party, because people are awaking. They realise what Labour is about now and it is a shame because the Party was once a power for good in an unjust world.

    I think all Labour MPs have good reasons to feel guilty, dirty and ashamed by betraying the trust of the British people in ways decent people find hard to fathom.

  9. Ani

    SC says:
    “wars were started purely on lies for the securing of oil reserves and pipelines” and he’s entitled to that opinion, but I’ve yet to hear the convincing evidence to substantiate that.
    And as he seems to be dwelling on current guilt for past misdeeds I wonder if the discussion on ConHome, (though not of the same magnitude, but nevertheless related) today about coal, will cause him any stabs of conscience or regret.
    Some of the comments were enlightening as in:

    “I confidently predict we shall be re-opening coal mines within the next ten years, indeed, even if everything about our energy policy today, such as it is, goes according to plan, we will still NEED to reopen coal mines in the next ten years”.

    “We should never have allowed them to close, and thus help to destroy our independence as a nation”

    “Maggie v Arthur Scargill! An immoveable object versus an irresistable force.”

    “It is inconceivable that any government would stop development of coal in our country”
    “Strategically and economically it is imperative that we proceed without delay”

    Accurate comments from the party so determined on the dash for gas, that it destroyed mining , the expertise, the associated businesses, the communities and thousands of families dependent on that industry, to be now, without an iota of conscience, high handedly discussing reviving coal, is brass neckery to the nth degree and beyond nauseating.

  10. Andrew F

    I hope I don’t come across as personally vindictive, but if the charge is being partisan, tribalist and determined to do everything possible to advance the Labour Party, then guilty.

    It really is shameful that you can say that in public without it being the end of your political career. Of course, it’s true for most politicians: but how disgusting that we’re willing to accept it openly.

    Everything possible? So, you’d be willing to implement flawed policy or misuse ministerial instruments for the good of the party. You’d be willing to, say, support curtailment our civil liberties just to put Labour on the the winning side of the anti-terror debate? You’d be willing to start a war?

    You’re supposed to serve the public first, the party second.

  11. Johnny Norfolk

    Labour never have put the country first. It is party all the time. That is why they should never be trusted as we can now see.

  12. Blackacre

    Looks like a nice little Minister of State job has just appeared for you at the Scottish Office. Good luck…

  13. Ani, I had to re-read your comments about me. Do you take me for a Tory and suggest I should feel guilt for what Thatcher did to the British coal industry?

    I never voted for the woman and quite despised her. I had hoped for so much better from Labour, which is the reason I used to vote for them. I was young and daft, mind you.

    As for my comment about the lies to go to war for political and commercial interests, you might want to read Labour MP Harry Cohen’s thoughts.

    You might also remember 45 minute warnings, WMD and the silencing of Dr. David Kelly.

  14. Ani

    SC. Yes I thought you were a Tory responding to this:
    “but if the charge is being partisan, tribalist and determined to do everything possible to advance the Labour Party, then guilty.”

    But your blog, which sorry to say I didn’t check out due to lack of interest; and your comments, appear to indicate that you’re one of those fortunate people who camp up on the high ground looking down dispassionately but judgmentally on the rest of us who disagree with you.
    For what it’s worth, I’ve read acres of opinion, remember 45 minutes and WMD, and still think Norman Baker is a fantasist.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s