Friday, November 04, 2016

Stephen Phillips should have stayed and fought for his beliefs

There are some of us who will fight, and fight, and fight again, to save the party we love. We will fight, and fight, and fight again, to bring back sanity and honesty and dignity, so that our party – with its great past – may retain its glory and its greatness.
So said Hugh Gaitskell at the Labour Party Conference in 1960 opposing a motion advocating unilateral nuclear disarmament.

But it's not what Stephen Phillips said today. He threw in his hand and left the fruitcakes to take over the Conservative Party.

BBC News quotes him extensively:
In a recent newspaper article, he suggested the government was "lurching to the right" and that its attempt to start negotiations with the EU without the explicit approval of Parliament was "divisive and plain wrong". 
In a statement, he did not spell out the specific reasons for his resignation but said: "It has become clear to me over the last few months that my growing and very significant policy differences with the current government mean that I am unable properly to represent the people who elected me". 
However, in a letter to his constituency chairman, Mr Phillips attacked the government for "shirking" responsibility for unaccompanied child refugees and changes in the way international aid is spent. 
Mr Phillips said: "Some will label me a quitter or, no doubt, worse. Those are labels with which I can live. The label Conservative no longer is."
Why being disaffected from the government makes it impossible for Phillips "properly to represent" the electors is not clear. Does he see himself as a delegate to represent their views? Or do the whips make the job too hard if you do not toe the line?

Even if he wanted to resign the Conservative whip, a seat in the Commons is a precious thing and not to be thrown away lightly.

Given the Tory selectorate in this Lincolnshire seat, Phillips' successor is very unlikely to share his views.

So isn't he just aiding a far-right takeover of the Conservatives by resigning?


Frank Little said...

He is not going to go short:

Mr Phillips received earnings of more than £140,000 from legal work in the past 12 months and in previous years he has declared higher sums, including almost £750,000 in 2013.

- from a Daily Telegraph piece on his departure, which it is suggested was always on the cards after his being passed over for a government post.

Jonathan Calder said...

So anyone who disagrees with the Telegraph's editorial line must have low motives?