Feeling sorry for a Tory MP (Eh?)
I feel very slightly sorry for Natalie Elphicke, the Tory MP for Dover. Her husband was her predecessor in the seat, until he was found guilty of sexual assault. Perhaps Natalie got a sympathy vote. But recent coverage of the P&O debacle has found Natalie seeking to join a protest at Dover docks but being shouted at ‘Shame on you.’ At first she thought the shouting was directed at P&O and she actually joined in until she discovered the truth. The protesters were shouting at her. This is because she is a member of the party which talked out Labour MP Barry Gardiner’s private member’s bill restricting the growing practice of ‘fire and hire.’ Exactly what P&O has done. Apparently some seafarers who were paid £28 per hour will be replaced with slave labour at £2.60 an hour. An awkward position for Natalie. Not least since she mentioned P&O in her little contribution to the debate on Gardiner’s bill.
This is a real problem for an MP. When you say something on the record when it’s not particularly controversial, how do you behave when it actually becomes controversial and you’re expected to stand by your words? A little bit of trim is called for (I think that’s a maritime expression). The above contribution Natalie made to the Commons debate on fire and rehire could come to haunt her. But one way she could row back would be to spend the next eight weeks standing by a picket line brazier protesting the rampant capitalist injustice her party stands for.
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