In the middle of “Party Gate”, one local Conservative MP has shown that not only does he favour authoritarian laws that remove the rights and liberties that helped to make this country what it is today, but he managed to embrace “cancel culture” to demonstrate how the Tories really cannot handle it when people have legitimate questions for them.
Elliot Colburn is the newest MP in Sutton and Croydon, having been elected in 2019 for Carshalton and Wallington, ousting the long-time FibDem Tom Brake. Colburn also has one of the smallest majorities of south London MPs, at just 629 votes.
So he probably won’t have enjoyed the attention he’s been getting recently for his own lack of attention to local matters, being accused of being “Missing”.
He probably also regrets, too, breaking cover for an appearance in what he hoped would be a Tory echo chamber, full of cheering Hoorays and true blue supporters keen to hear their party’s latest plans to sell-off the NHS or destroy the BBC.
Because Colburn’s efforts to ingratiate himself with the Conservative Party hierarchy back-fired badly, when a Zoom meeting arranged with Home Secretary Priti “Pathological” Patel was hijacked by climate and civil rights campaigners.
Or what Colburn dismissively termed “leftists”.
As hilarious as the resulting video edit is, it also highlights a very important point: just like blundering Boris Johnson, when they are asked to justify their actions, Colburn, Patel and other Tories not only refuse to do so, they try to ban the questions and sanction the questioners. The acts of an authoritarian government.
In Colburn’s Young Conservatives Zoom session, the MP looked genuinely flustered when someone got through Central Office’s careful screening process and had the audacity to ask the Home Secretary a perfectly reasonable question about the Police Bill, which has measures that would reduce the right to peaceful protest and imprison people “just for trying to fight for my future and people’s lives across the world”.
Was that a smirk we detected on Patel’s tight-lipped face as Colborn flapped?
“Errr. I’m sorry Home Secretary,” Colburn grovelled like the lowly backbencher that he is. “I do not know how that got on the call.”
“That”. Note that. Not the person’s name. No acknowledgement that the questioner is a person at all. No attempt whatsoever to engage with the questioner, to argue the case.
It was not just a lone questioner, though.
Others, also opposed to the Policing Bill’s Draconian, anti-democratic and oppressive measures, were also in the meeting. And while they may not have been called to ask questions that Patel and Colburn would refuse to answer, they were able to use Zoom’s text chat option. And swamp it for the duration of the meeting.
By the end, Colburn appeared downtrodden.
Showing that he will embrace “cancel culture” when it suits his cause, he posted a written note: “Apologies to those who came here to genuinely ask questions,” Colburn said, ignoring the fact that he and Patel had ignored those genuine individuals who had asked genuine questions, just not the easy, under-arm lobs that the Tory MPs had expected.
“I have no idea how these leftists got into this call,” he wrote, using what passes for the latest right-wing term of abuse.
“I will be asking [Conservative Central Office] to review how they monitor who is let into these calls.” Nothing authoritarian about that whatsoever…
Colburn’s performance on the night was described by one constituent as that of “a lightweight MP sucking up to the horror show government”.
And with that wafer-thin majority of his, Colburn may also be concerned that his inability to respond to constituents’ emails, letters and calls is beginning to get noticed.
“He’s not answering his emails appropriately on this or listening to people,” another local resident said.
“I am personally concerned he doesn’t even understand the ramifications of this bill and others such as the Nationality and Borders Bill.” The latter which could be used by Patel’s Home Office to cancel an individual’s British nationality almost by edict.
Colburn has not always toed the party line during his two years in parliament. He has voted against the Conservative government – when he went against the Tories to try to stop having his own wedding cancelled due to covid rules.
And he’s not been entirely unseen. Colburn did break cover earlier this month… to try to publicise the annual kebab awards, a matter of pressing importance to absolutely no one in Carshalton and Wallington, not even those running kebab shops.
“Carshalton residents are getting increasingly concerned following the disappearance of their MP,” a widely shared note on social media states.
“A number of people have made attempts to contact him in recent weeks but received no reply…
“Constituents are particularly worried that he might have fallen in with an undesirable group that are able to manipulate and control him,” Colburn’s political opponents posted, before adding, “We would report his disappearance to the police but apparently they don’t investigate cases involving Tory MPs.”
A suitcase of booze is being offered for information which might lead to the discovery of Colburn’s whereabouts.
- If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, or want to publicise your residents’ association or business, or if you have a local event to promote, please email us with full details at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Inside Croydon is a member of the Independent Community News Network
- Inside Croydon works together with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, as well as BBC London News and ITV London
- Inside Croydon: 3.3million page views in 2021. Seen by 1.6million unique visitors in that 12-month period
Lightweight is polite; the guy seems just completely out of his depth,