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Thursday, November 29, 2007
Spat Over Spratt
I happened to switch on Radio Kent this morning to find a Labour MP breaking the first law of politics - never give your opponent a platform. Chatham & Aylesford MP Jonathan Shaw was rather annoyed when his Tory opponent, Tracey Crouch, said in one of her newsletters that he has missed a debate on the MRSA problems affecting the local hospital. She pointed out that he was in Luxemburg in his role as Fisheries Minister and hadn't ever bothered to speak out about the hospital in Parliament. Infuriated, Shaw challenged Tracey Crouch to debate the matter on the radio, which they did this morning. Why, oh why, oh why? If he had ignored her the matter would have been forgotten. Instead, Crouch was able to tell him that he was completely wrong to suggest that Ministers cannot speak from the backbenches on important constituency issues, which left listeners wondering if he was on top of his job What he was essentially saying was: "I can't stick up for my constituency because I'm a Minister". Good one Jonathan!
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I live in Kent and heard the broadcast while driving to my office in Gillingham this morning.
When he was cornered about his performance, Mr Shaw resorted to typical Nu-Labour duplicity to avoid admitting the truth.
Firstly he claimed it was not possible for a Minister to speak on such matters when clearly this is untrue. Either Mr Shaw does not understand Parliamentary procedure or he disseminated to cover the fact he was losing the argument.
Secondly, and equally contemptible, he claimed that had he not gone to Strasbourg, UK fishermen would not have been represented at an important EU meeting. This is clearly nonsense. There are 5 Ministers in DEFRA - surely one could have deputised to allow him to speak on such an important constituency matter as 90 deaths from c-diff at his local hospital.
jonathan shaw has been an ineffective MP for years often not living up to his freely given promises
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