Our new Prime Minister

The announcement that Boris Johnson had won the Conservative Leadership election was no surprise, but I find I am still shocked.

Shocked that someone whose only interest in politics seems to have been in how far it can further his career, will be our Prime Minister.

In the two years I’ve been in Parliament, I’ve seen less of Boris Johnson than almost any other MP.

He’s spoken in just five debates this year – four on Europe and a short intervention on knife crime to congratulate himself for his role as London Mayor, and have a dig at the current Labour Mayor.

Few MPs have such a poor speaking record.  (In the same period I’ve spoken 146 times.)

But Mr Johnson has been busy elsewhere.  According to his Conservative colleagues, he’s been wooing their support with coffee and chocolate biscuits since he left the Foreign Office.

His office is in the same building as mine, on the top floor.  I would share a lift with him sometimes when a vote was called and his usual question was, “What are we voting on this time?”

It worries me that someone who takes so little interest in what’s going on in Parliament, and in the concerns of his constituents, is now our Prime Minister.

I recall his time as London Mayor as one of publicity stunts interspersed with reports of money wasted on water cannons and garden bridges.

For all her faults, Theresa May has been a diligent public servant, and it’s hard not to say the same of any recent Prime Minister.  Whatever their motivation, they’ve cared about the people of this country.  But this Prime Minister will be different.

Lots of people come into Parliament because that’s their chosen career.  Many spend years touting around different constituencies, making the case for themselves at each election because they want to walk the corridors of power.

But when I speak to young people about politics, and they say they are considering a career as an MP, I suggest they find out first what they want to achieve, what good they want to do.

Boris Johnson’s main motivation seems to be for us to leave the European Union, regardless of the consequences for our people or our economy. 

It’s done well for his career, but it doesn’t bode well for Brexit, or for any of the other very urgent issues facing High Peak and the rest of our country – cuts and staff shortages in our NHS, lack of support for special needs in our schools, rising crime and growing poverty.

He wants to be a ‘hands-off’ PM, but he will need a diligent Parliament to hold him to account.  That’s what I’ll be concentrating on.

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