Not free to speak, not free to act! – A comment on PPS Jupp’s position

From another regular Correspondent:

Wow!  So, Simon Jupp, supposedly East Devon’s MP, has accepted an unpaid job as a PPS at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.  He had supported Rishi Sunak for PM so this is quite a U-turn.

First: what is a PPS?

From Wikipedia which carries full references:

Although not paid other than their salary as an MP PPSs help the government to track backbench opinion in Parliament. They are subject to some restrictions as outlined in the Ministerial Code of the British government but are not members of the Government.

A PPS can sit on select committees but must avoid “associating themselves with recommendations critical of, or embarrassing to the Government”, and must not make statements or ask questions on matters affecting the minister’s department. In particular, the PPS in the Department for Communities and Local Government may not participate in planning decisions or in the consideration of planning cases.

PPSs are not members of the government, and all efforts are made to avoid these positions being referred to as such. They are instead considered more simply as normal Members. However, their close confidence with ministers does impose obligations on every PPS. The guidelines surrounding the divulging of classified information by ministers to PPSs are rigid.

Ministers choose their own PPSs, but they are expected to consult the Chief Whip and must seek the written approval for each candidate from the prime minister.

Although not on the government payroll, PPSs are expected to act as part of the payroll vote, voting in line with the government on every division.

What has Jupp done for us?

Jupp’s previous appointment, under Johnson, had been as a member of the Transport Select Committee in February 2020 and the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee in September 2021.

So, let’s list his achievements in his former posts and his suitability for the current post.  Or try to …

Transport Select Committee:

Can anyone tell me his achievements in this area – nationally or for East Devon?

Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

– likewise?

All this correspondent recalls about Jupp up to now is that for many, many months he refused to meet members of the majority group on East Devon District Council and a rather unfortunate decision he made to stay at a property owned by former Councillor and Alderman John Humphreys when he was canvassing for the MP job in 2019.  Humphreys – now serving 21 years in prison for sexual offences against minors – was under investigation at that time, which at least some councillors and officers appear to have been aware of  – though obviously none of them alerted Jupp to this.  Nor is it likely Hugo Swire said anything, as he is on record in his wife’s book as being very much a Humphries supporter.

All Jupp’s utterances in the local press to date appear to have been rehashes of government press releases – has anyone got any evidence ofJupp’s original thinking?

The only campaign he appears to be passionate about is supporting the hospitality sector. He was photographed drinking non-local beers with such good examples of Tories as: “three homes” Robert Jenrick and “tractor porn” Neil Parish just before the first was sacked and the second chucked out of the party. Now, continuing his disastrous sense of timing, he has just joined “Team Truss”.

Now to his new responsibilities. 

Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

From Wikipedia again:

A Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) is a Member of Parliament (MP) in the United Kingdom who acts as an unpaid assistant to a minister or shadow minister. They are selected from backbench MPs as the ‘eyes and ears’ of the minister in the House of Commons.

So, now he is actually FORCED to support the policies of his masters as part of the job!  

I have consulted the website to check Jupp’s interventions in Parliament, seeing no sign of anything that deviates from being a loyal servant of whichever master is in charge.  Though there was one – when during a heatwave – he did ask if honourable members could remove their jackets!

So, Jupp is what is known as a “bag carrier”,  now obliged to vote with his government as part of his job.

It’s nonsense for him now to claim, as he does: “East Devon will of course come first”.

Is this what the Conservative voters of East Devon voted for?  

Come back Claire Wright – never more needed!  Remember her slogan as an Independent?

“Free to Speak, Free to Act”, unlike Jupp “Not free to speak, not free to act” as long as he is  PPS!