Francis Maude: Francis Maude: puzzling decision and pointless poll

Horsham MP Francis Maude
Horsham MP Francis Maude

Over the next few weeks I, alongside many of my MP colleagues, will be campaigning in the by-election in Clacton. This is possibly the most pointless by-election in history. It has been caused, readers will recall, because the sitting Conservative MP, Douglas Carswell, resigned his seat in order to stand for the UK Independence Party.

His reason was stated to be concern with the Conservative Party’s approach to the EU.

This was puzzling, as only a few months ago he had said it was time for all Conservatives to act with complete loyalty to David Cameron.

He said, correctly, that the only chance for the in-out referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU was a Conservative Government elected in 2015.

Indeed he went further and said that the Conservative policy on the EU was ‘100 per cent’ correct.

Possibly the only first ever case of a politician leaving his party because he agreed with it!

There is an interesting parallel in Sweden, where there has just been a general election.

The successful centre-right led Swedish government has been supplanted by a centre-left government.

The key factor?

A right wing party with many similarities with UKIP secured more than ten per cent of the vote.

The result?

A government which is exactly the reverse of what those voters wanted.

By the time this article is published, voters in Scotland will be deciding the future of this amazing United Kingdom.

The polls are suggesting a razor’s-edge outcome.

I hope so much that Scotland will vote ‘No Thanks’ to keep together this 307 year old Union.

It isn’t perfect, we all know that. The original devolution settlement was slightly made up on the hoof.

There have a number of subsequent revisions, but all of them have left unaddressed the sense that the position of England has been an afterthought.

If as I hope there is a No vote, then this will have to be addressed.

But the last thing most British people want is to find ourselves in some Little England redoubt, retreating into an isolated bunker of narrow parochial concerns.

This United Kingdom has a proud history as a great maritime trading nation, with a global outlook.

That is our history and that can be our future too.