I’ve lost count of how many times in recent months I’ve described events in parliament as astonishing. But this week took the biscuit. A week ago, when I wrote my last blog, Kwasi Kwarteng was chancellor of the exchequer, Suella Braverman was home secretary, Wendy Morton was the government’s chief whip, and Liz Truss was prime minister. In the past seven days, Kwasi and Suella have been forced to resign, no one is quite sure if Wendy is chief whip or not (she reportedly resigned, then unresigned again), and Liz has announced she will stand down next Friday, following yet another Conservative leadership election. This after just 44 days in Downing Street. It would be farcical if it weren’t so serious for the country.
The final straw for Liz Truss was a vote called by Labour on fracking. Labour is committed to ending fracking for good, but the prime minister wanted to restart it. Unfortunately for her, many Conservative MPs are also opposed to fracking. In truly extraordinary scenes as we voted on Wednesday night, government ministers attempted to strong-arm reluctant Tories into their voting lobby. There are serious allegations of bullying behaviour by some minsters, which the Speaker is now investigating.
All this comes after chaotic u-turns, soaring inflation, and threats of deep spending cuts from the chancellor (for now), Jeremy Hunt. It really has been remarkable to watch the government fall apart in so many ways and so quickly. But a new Conservative leader isn’t the answer. We need a general election now – and a Labour government.
Away from the excitement, it has been great to welcome some good friends to parliament this week. I was delighted to host The Bread and Butter Thing, who are based in Trafford Park, and help families with the cost of the weekly shop and reduce food waste. It’s always a pleasure to welcome Manchester United Foundation for an update about their work with young people. I was glad to join Islamic Relief and British Red Cross in calling for the international community to provide relief to Pakistan following the terrible floods there, and action to tackle the climate crisis. And it was great to attend a reception to mark Colleges Week – a big shoutout to the amazing staff and students at Trafford College.
Last Sunday saw an appalling attack on a Hong Kong democracy protestor at the Chinese consulate in Manchester. The Consul General himself has admitted being involved, and the scenes on social media are shocking. Trafford is proud that many Hong Kong families have made their home here, and I was glad to join Greater Manchester MPs, and MPs from all parties, in calling on the government to take strong and immediate action. We are disappointed and angry that government ministers have not met the Chinese ambassador to express the UK’s outrage at what took place, and that the perpetrators remain in Manchester. How can my Hong Kong constituents feel safe and secure when our government is so reluctant to take action?
MP for Stretford and Urmston