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Politics: Turning up the political heat at Westminster

By David Porter

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With the arrival of summer, the political heat at Westminster has been turned-up this week.

Firstly, Lord Hannan admitted that the UK should have stayed in the Single Market after Brexit.

The noble Lord thinks it “would have saved us a lot of trouble”.

Well indeed, and I’d be happy to introduce him to a great many people who have had a huge amount of trouble to deal with as a result of being no longer able to export things like seed potatoes to Europe.

Or even to Northern Ireland for that matter.

Who is Lord Hannan you ask?

Whilst not a household name in Scottish politics, as plain-old Dan Hannan he was an influential Conservative Member of the European Parliament who did much to push for leaving the EU.

A founder of the ‘Vote Leave’ campaign, he was rewarded with a berth in the House of Lords once he’d successfully abolished his MEP post.

This notable recantation was closely followed by the announcement that sufficient numbers of Conservative MPs had belatedly arrived at a conclusion many of us reached quite some time ago - that Boris Johnson is not an appropriate person to be Prime Minister, thereby triggering a vote of confidence in the Prime Minister.

One of those submitting a letter to help trigger the vote was Jesse Norman MP.

Even following a stint as a Treasury Minister, the MP for Hereford isn’t exactly a household name in Scotland.

However, he put pen to paper to scribe what must be one of the most excoriating political letters I’ve ever seen, wasting not a single syllable in drawing up a devastating indictment of the Prime Minister’s shortcomings in office.

It’s all the more remarkable for the fact that Mr Norman is someone who had supported Boris Johnson for fifteen years, backing him firstly for Mayor of London and then to be Leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister.

It’s fair to assume that not only there has been good acquaintance between the two, but that Mr Norman has a considerable understanding of our Prime Minister as an individual.

In a wide-ranging letter which strongly criticises UK Government policy on the Northern Ireland protocol; offshoring to Rwanda our obligations to asylum seekers; the planned privatisation of Channel 4 and Partygate, the most withering criticism comes at the end where Mr Norman says:

“Under you, the Government seems to lack a sense of mission.

"It has a large majority, but no long-term plan.

"Rather, you are simply seeking to campaign, to keep changing the subject and to create political and cultural dividing lines mainly for your advantage. Sensible planning has been replaced by empty rhetoric.”

Despite his numerical victory, the issue of the Prime Minister’s fitness for office persists.

While the war in Ukraine and the resulting humanitarian concerns, effects on supply chains, the cost-of-living crisis, and escalating electricity and gas costs should be commanding the attention of the Government, I fear that with no change at the top, we’re simply in for more of an entitled leadership class lurching from one self-inflicted crisis to another, with only fleeting focus on the issues that should be concerning Government right now.

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