Croydon residents have 24 hours to convince the borough’s newest MP, Chris Philp, to oppose the changes to the country’s hunting with dogs legislation in Parliament tomorrow.
Steve Reed OBE, the MP for Lambeth South (the constituency formerly known as Croydon North) is expected to do whatever Harriet Harman tells him, while Gavin Barwell – a professional politician for whom the phrase “run with the fox and hunt with the hounds” might have been invented – has undergone a Damascene conversion in the last few hours.
For after the Scots Nats announced that they would vote down the proposals and consign the Tory Government to its first legislative defeat of this Parliament, Barwell revealed that he would be voting against the measures
Philp, being unfamiliar with the lie of the land in his new Croydon South constituency, may fear that the Coulsdon and Purley Hunt will be baying for his blood if he does not vote in favour of the proposals, which would allow huntsmen to deploy more than two dogs to flush-out their quarry. All for “pest control” purposes, of course.
Well, we’ve got news for Philp. There is no Coulsdon and Purley Hunt, so he is free to do the right thing…
Yesterday, Philp told Inside Croydon, “I am genuinely undecided on the fox hunting issue, and will listen to the arguments before voting.” Which is a major improvement on his predecessor, who conducted himself as if he were his lone constituent.
Let’s hope that Philp isn’t put in a quandary over the strength of the arguments with a call in Parliament for the return of bear baiting. Or hanging.
Barwell’s late-decided position on the fox hunting issue is widely seen as a cynical shift. As a senior Government whip, Barwell will rarely have the latitude to vote in the interests of his Croydon Central constituents. The fox hunting issue offered all David Cameron’s Tories a free vote.
Careerist Barwell, who has previously voted to stay in Cameron’s good books and voted for the ill-conceived and badly administered badger cull, had promised during the election campaign to consult his constituents on the issue. There’s no evidence that he has ever actively done this.
But on his own website this morning, perhaps after listening to the new headlines on the Today programme, “Voice of the People” Gav announced, “I’m clear from the hundreds of emails, letters and tweets I’ve received that the overwhelming majority of my constituents are opposed to any weakening of the Act. So although it will put me at odds with many of my Conservative colleagues, I will be voting to retain the current law on Wednesday.”
Ahh, the power of the constituent’s letter and tweet. Croydon residents better get busy telling Gav they want him to vote against his party’s welfare changes and its tax cut for dead millionaires…
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