Rod Liddle

MPs can’t speak their minds anymore

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Howard Flight was made a peer fairly recently, presumably because there is no place in parliament for someone who has a tendency to speak his mind. Back in 2005, whilst being Chief Secretary to the Treasury and MP for Arundel, he made the revolutionary suggestion that the Tory Party might, some day, a lot further down the line, quite fancy the notion of tax cuts. He was not merely sacked from his front bench post for this vile and unconscionable notion, but deselected. Now he has said that the cuts to child benefit will penalise the middle classes more than they penalise the working classes. This is unequivocally true. But he has now been forced into that most modern of things, the abject, grovelling, apology for having said such a thing.

This happens to all politicians who tell truths which we would rather they didn’t tell. I agree with Mr Flight about very little, politically, but that’s not the point. The reason there are no longer any interesting people in the House of Commons is because MPs are no longer allowed to speak freely, even when what they say is palpably true.