“Why I’ve joined a new group of MPs trying to fix Britain’s futile adversarial politics”

Could you see Swire or Parish doing this for the sake of our district and our country? No. Could you see Claire Wright doing this? Yes.

“… A few weeks ago I was asked if I would be interested in joining the More United Network. One call with its leadership team and I was sold. The idea is simple really, a new platform for MPs who are willing, where possible, to work cross-party in the national interest, regardless of which party is in power.

I know it’s a cliche, but becoming a dad completely changed how I viewed the world. My outlook was different, less selfish and short termist. I began thinking more about the sort of country I wanted my kids to grow up in. And I could either be the guy who sits round the dinner table or down the pub putting the world to rights, or I could get out there and fight for the things I believe in. So that’s what I did, and two years later I was elected to parliament.

Most MPs enter politics for reasons like this, having been inspired by something or someone in their lives to make a positive difference. And going to work surrounded by a group of people with an immense breadth and depth of knowledge and experience means there’s always something to learn, and areas where common cause can be found.

What many people don’t know is that some of the best work in parliament happens in the All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs), where MPs with a shared interest join forces to push for change. Sadly, this sort of positive cross-party cooperation doesn’t often make the headlines.

On the whole, MPs tend to agree on the destination we want to arrive at. We all want to make sure our NHS is at its best, that we’re giving our kids the best start in life and an excellent education so they can fulfil their potential, that people can achieve the dream of home ownership, that our high streets thrive, our environment is protected, and that we have the right transport and digital infrastructure in place.

What is true is that we don’t always agree on the path to get there. That is no bad thing either, we need a battle of ideas, and no side has a monopoly on good ones.

This is what the More United MP Network hopes to achieve; bringing people together in a space that allows consensual politics to flourish so we can find solutions. Seeking out differences and grievances just for the sake of it doesn’t help anyone.

Outside the Westminster circus, real life and real issues are affecting my constituents. Too many feel the deck is stacked against them. It is that pervasive sense of unfairness that threatens social cohesion, and has seen people lurching to populists on the left and right in search of scapegoats and easy answers.

It’s the job of serious MPs to tell it straight – that there is no silver bullet or magical solution to all the issues facing us as a nation. That whilst of course at times our political differences will be too big to bridge, where we can work together to make your lives better, we should.

And when it comes to those of us in the More United Network, we will.”


We pay mortgages on MPs second homes – they take the profit

Wonder how much Swire’s second home is worth now – but is it the one in mid-Devon or the one in London? Is Neil Parish’s second home his London pad or his Somerset farm?

“Boris Johnson’s Oxfordshire ­farmhouse has soared in value to £1.2million – but the taxpayers who helped him buy it won’t see a penny.

Boris’s nest egg is one of 170 “second homes” owned by current and former MPs that have shot up by £100million.

Many were bought in flashy Central London postcodes before the 2000s boom – some have quadrupled in value.

The average growth is £570,000 for each of the 170 MPs, before costs and tax, if the properties were sold today.

Boris bought his country pile in 2003 after he was elected MP for Henley.

He paid £640,000 for it and has since seen its value rise by £560,000, or 88%.

Boris designated it his second home, meaning between 2004 and 2008 he claimed £77,957 in mortgage interest. He continued to own it throughout his two-year stint living at taxpayers’ expense while Foreign Secretary.

Of the MPs’ properties the Mirror has uncovered, the top five increases in value were all owned by Tories. …”


How did Parish vote on EU last night?

Neil Parish
Voting record on the following Brexit proposals:

No-deal: Leaving the EU on 12 April without a deal (John Baron’s proposal – 160 for, 400 against)

Did not vote
Common Market 2.0: Remaining in the European single market and seeking a temporary customs union with the EU (Nick Boles’ proposal – 188 for, 283 against)

EFTA and EEA: Remaining in the European single market but not forming a customs union with the EU (George Eustice’s proposal – 65 for, 377 against)

Customs union: Seeking a UK-wide customs union with the EU (Ken Clarke’s proposal – 264 for, 272 against)

Labour’s alternative plan: Negotiating changes to the withdrawal agreement so that it includes protections to workers’ rights, a permanent customs union, and close alignment to the single market (Jeremy Corbyn’s proposal – 237 for, 307 against)

Revoke Article 50: Cancelling Brexit if the UK gets within days of leaving the EU without a deal (Joanna Cherry’s proposal – 184 for, 293 against)

Second referendum: Holding another public vote to confirm any withdrawal agreement agreed by Parliament (Margaret Beckett’s proposal – 268 for, 295 against)

Standstill arrangement: Seeking a tariff-free trade agreement with the EU that will last for two years, during which time Britain will contribute to the EU budget (Marcus Fysh’s proposal – 139 for, 422 against)

How did our 2 MPs vote this evening?

In spite of several Cabinet Ministers abstaining to avoid being seen as definitely not following Theresa May’s firm whipping orders, our MPs did exactly as May had ordered them to do, and were in the minority on all votes.


Quick! Get your letters in to Swire – you have a short window in which he might reply!

Many berate Swire for not answering their letters or giving “automated” replies.

Well, local elections and a possible general election seems to be concentrating his mind and rumours reach Owl that – VERY unusually – he (or his wife who draws a £35,000+ salary for “helping” him) is answering letters!

Get them in NOW! Once elections have passed and/or Brexit is sorted one way or the other, normal service will no doubt be resumed!

Owl would love to know if this also applies to Neil Parish in the east of our constituency. Time to nobble him about Persimmon in Axminster, perhaps!