The Bill which will deliver the Universal Obligation for the provision of broadband is scheduled to receive its Second Reading today. This will provide the legislative framework to improve broadband for the final 5% of properties who have not been covered by the existing roll out of superfast broadband.
Yesterday the news was dominated by the fact that former Prime Minister David Cameron has announced he is immediately standing down from Parliament. I did wonder how many occasions in the past have there been where a Party Leader has led their Party to victory in a general election and then left Parliament 16 months later.
In the Commons after Defence questions the Secretary of State for Education announced the governments consultation on removing the ban on selective schools. The Wales Bill completed all its remaining stages in the Commons.
I chaired most of the debate held in Westminster Hall on the dog meat trade in South Korea which was held following a public petition which had achieved over 100,000 signatures.
I then attended a very interesting meeting with the Rt. Hon. Stephen O’Brien the Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs at the United Nations. He explained the many conflicts and disasters around the World where the UN is trying to provide relief.
I then attended a private meeting with Dr Liam Fox the new Secretary of State for International Trade where we discussed all the work his new department is doing to develop international trade.
So after over 10 years as Leader of the Conservative Party and over 6 as Prime Minister David Cameron has accepted that with his failure to convince a majority of people to stay in the European Union the time is now right to hand over to someone else. He had after all clearly said he would not be Prime Minster going into the next general election. I
I have already been asked who I think will be the new Leader and the new Prime Minster. Firstly I think we should see what the full list of potential candidates looks like.Secondly, the bookies favourite is clearly Boris Johnson. Not so long ago the bookies favourite was George Osborne so things can and do change.
What is more important is that the Party gets on with delivering on the manifesto and with delivering on the wishes of the majority of the British people to leave the European Union.
It is always disappointing when anyone decides to leave the Conservative Party, all the more so when it is a Conservative Member of Parliament. MP’s of various parties have changed parties for different reasons over the years. Very often they have chosen to remain in Parliament representing their new Party without asking the electorate whether they agreed. The last two MP’s who have decided for reasons of their own to leave the Conservative Party and join UKIP have both done the honourable thing and resigned their seats and put their new allegiance to the test in a by-election. I suspect that as in Clacton a few weeks ago the question that the voters in Rochester and Strood will be asking themselves is should an MP be penalised for doing the honourable thing and saying the people who elected him ‘ Look, I have changed parties do you still want me to represent you for the rest of this Parliament?’
That is a very different question to the one which people will be asking themselves at next year’s general election which will be Do we want a Labour Government under Ed Miliband or a Conservative one under David Cameron?
Phew! It has been a very busy last 36 hours. I attended the final day of the Conservatives’ Spring Forum in Brighton yesterday and was in the Hall to watch and listen to David Cameron’s unscripted speech which was very impressive. Incidentally, it is noticeable how many front line politicians are now able (and willing) to make speeches without notes these days. We had a good run back up from the South coast without hitting any traffic jams.
Today, I have been over to Sheffield where among other things I visited my father and installed his wireless broadband connection. Back to Bury and then I attended the Annual General Meeting of Bury Conservatives which was held in Prestwich this year. Fortunately the meeting was not too protracted as I then had to attend a meeting of the Church Officers at St. Anne’s back in Tottington. Tomorrow I am back on the campaign trail with a day of leafletting and canvassing.
David Cameron M.P. Leader of the Conservative Party referred to Andrew Lansley’s visit to Bury in his speech about the N.H.S. on Monday.
The full text of David’s speech can be found here