Just one comment: sorry


Politics is not a soap opera. A serious sense of purpose and a united, dedicated application has returned, says Simon Hoare MP

Simon Hoare MP
Simon Hoare MP

Older readers may well recall the slightly disconcerting 1986 scene in the TV series Dallas when Pam Ewing wakes up, enters her en suite bathroom and finds her husband Bobby in the shower. The previous year, Bobby had been written out of the series, killed in a car accident. He returned, much to the surprise of viewers, and was met with Pammy declaring she had had a horrible dream. The period of his absence was immediately erased and life carried on as normal.
Politics is a serious business. It can’t just erase memories. Decisions made affect the lives of us all every day.
Politics is not a soap opera.
That said, it has somewhat felt like one over recent months and for that I want to apologise.

A one-act tragedy
The government has not looked serious about discharging its important duties. The events of ‘partygate’ and Paterson combined to create a toxic environment in the country and in Parliament that led, as we know, to the fall of Boris Johnson (no returning ‘Bobby in the shower’ moment for him).
Over the summer – when the country was looking for answers, reassurance and support – the governmental pause button had been pressed while a new leader was selected.
The short-lived Truss government, more one-act tragedy than long running soap opera, needs no further comment.
Apart from one: sorry.
The principles that underpinned the mini budget were basically the right ones. The UK needs to see sustainable growth. Individuals, rather than the State, know best how to support their families with their own money. Our tax system needs to be competitive in order to attract investment and so on … The principles were true but the preparation and delivery were appalling and the impact on mortgages and confidence made worse by its avoidability.
While the markets are now steadier, the UK’s reputation is repairing and the Government emanates an air of seriousness, a sense of purpose and of dedicated application, I am not so naïve as to consider that all is either forgiven or forgotten. The Government has a big job to do and little time to do it in. The appointment of Rishi Sunak as Prime Minister and his retention of Jeremy Hunt at the Treasury are important reputational rebuilding foundations. The Cabinet that Rishi has appointed represents all views and opinions across the Conservative party, rather than being solely drawn in the narrow image of the Leader. I firmly believe this will make for better decision making and more robust scrutiny of policy. The mood of the parliamentary party is dramatically improved. Left, right and centre of the party are speaking to each other again – sometimes for the first time in many years. There is a sense of re-purposing, focus and hellbent determination to deliver.

Not just tories
I know some people reading this will be irritated and, in some sense, correctly saying ‘the UK is more than just the Conservative party’. They are, of course, right. But my party did win a commanding majority over all other parties in the House of Commons. We are right to recommit to repaying the trust the British people vested in us.
Which brings me to a closing thought on the call of some for a General Election. Given all the country has gone through since the New Year, I really do remain to be convinced that the policy delivery vacuum of a drawn-out election campaign is in the interests of our country or our economy. The ship needs to be steadied and the course reaffirmed first.
My second argument against a General Election is that we have a representative parliamentary system, not a presidential one. No individual is elected directly as prime minister. As you will know, individuals standing under a Party banner are elected to serve constituencies, and it is the sum of those results which puts a party over the line in order to form a government, that being more than 325 MPs. It is then a matter for the House of Commons to decide whether it has ‘confidence’ in that party. My party has yet to lose a single vote in the Commons. If a confidence vote were held tomorrow, there would be a massive majority in favour of it. The King has asked Rishi Sunak to form a Government. He has done so. He and it commands the confidence of Parliament. Let us not move any further to defining how our democracy works through the prism of ‘personal presidential politics’.
The Government has work to do to regain your trust. I will do all I can to help my party do so.


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