PARLIAMENT rises next week for the June 8 General Election and I cease to be an MP.
Never have I seen so many surprised Conservative MPs as when Theresa May made her announcement. After all, she had spent the previous weeks telling the world that (1) she had no intention of calling an early election and (2) those SNP folk in Scotland should be concentrating on governing.
Why call an early, unnecessary election? God forbid it has anything to do with distracting attention from the fact the Crown Prosecution Service is considering charges against 30 Tory MPs for breaching spending limits in the 2015 election. Or that Chancellor Hammond fears the economy is slowing and he’ll have to scrap the triple lock guarantee on pensions. Or that the Prime Minister is more concerned with crushing Labour than securing a deal over Brexit.
But let’s put my gentle cynicism aside. Parliament is coming to a premature end, so I want to thank a number of people who have made the last two years so memorable.
First, the good folk of East Lothian who put their trust in me as their MP. It has been a privilege to represent you. When I arrived in the Commons two years ago, hardly anyone there knew where East Lothian was. I’m happy that is no longer the case. There were headlines around the world when I asked Theresa May if she was willing to push the nuclear button, even if it meant frying hundreds of thousands of innocents.
I also want to thank Parliamentary colleagues of all parties. As the only Scottish member of the Treasury Select Committee, I have worked with Tory MP Andrew Tyrie to hold the banks to account. As chair of the All-party Group for Fair Business Banking, I’ve organised a campaign to win compensation for small businesses miss-sold by big banks. And I want to thank Jeremy Corbyn for voting with the SNP in July 2015 against the Tory cap on welfare benefits while the majority of Labour MPs abstained.
Finally, thanks to the Courier for providing all East Lothian’s elected representatives a chance to put their case.