We are facing a very disturbing period in our nation from the current Government, based on what has taken place over the last three weeks and indeed over a much longer period. A number of the decisions that have occurred over the last five years are extremely damaging to our nation and to individuals or groups of people. Clearly unless the Government decides to formally go to the public, that they have another three years before the next General Election. However even if they did go to the public, the leading political party is in such a strong position in the First Past The Post (FPTP) system that it seems unlikely that they would lose their strength as the next Government. It is of course also very disturbing that the very bad decisions that have taken place in the last few weeks have not been acknowledged by several of our local MPs who are part of the Conservative Party even though the Government has done two U turns. Thankfully two of the 13 Sussex Conservative MPs responded in a relatively clear way when they were asked to vote for the two issues. Peter Bottomley and Huw Merriman both voted against the Government or chose not to vote when it came to these matters. Of course, they were not voting or ignoring votes alone and the three Brighton and Hove MPs voted very clearly to oppose the Government on its two very disturbing policies so we should thank all five of them. The first issue was about the dumping of raw sewage into the sea or rivers in our nation. The second was the appalling change of a system for managing MPs who behave badly. In both cases the reversal response from the Government came within a few hours or a few days after the public votes. They acted far too late to respond to other people including the public and so they had to reverse their bad decisions. Sadly, the Government has carried on as if nothing has seriously happened whilst the MPs who they had called to vote for their proposals have been left very vulnerable as a result.
We now need our local MPs to admit their bad responses rather than simply trying to change the issue by publishing lots of other subjects that are taking place in their local settings. Along with Peter and Huw who responded positively to both of these issues, there have other MPs who managed to respond in a positive way to at least one of the two subjects. However it is vital for the MPs who voted in favour of the Government on both themes to explain to those of us who live or work in Sussex why they acted so badly. Several of them are members of the Government and so their responses need to be a great deal stronger and they must not simply hide behind the Government statements. The six Sussex MPs who all voted to allow both the dumping of sewage and the breaking down of the MP rules are: Maria Caulfield (Lewes), Mims Davies (Mid Sussex), Nusrat Ghani (Wealden), Nick Gibb (Bognor Regis and Littlehampton), Sally-Ann Hart (Hastings and Rye) and Gillian Keegan (Chichester). It seems vital for all of them to explain why they adopted these poor decisions which were then so quickly reversed after their votes were published.
Of course, there are a myriad of other issues that need to be changed by the Government. Some of us would like them to review their actions over the referendum that took place more than five years ago. Many of us would also like a reversal of a number of other policies that that have been set out during that period and including recent ones such as the way in which the Universal Credit system has been impacted. There are of course other cases that have emerged in the last few days or weeks. There is clearly a lot that could be done to help Richard Ratcliffe who is currently refusing to eat food in an attempt to get his wife Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe freed from prison in Iran. Given that our Prime Minister was the Foreign Secretary and who handled things badly at the time for Nazanin and that so many years have gone by, perhaps while he is in COP26 with Iran leaders, he could try to put things right There is also the National Disability Strategy that is currently being explored in the High Court by some people who are impacted by the policy. It is very disturbing that the legal representative for Therese Coffey has had to admit in Court that there was “perhaps some unfortunate language referring to consultation”. It is vital that the Government will reverse that issue as soon as possible.