Jayne Dowle: Stop playing political games and start waking up to the concerns of the North

Theresa May makes her Downing Street statement after a confidence vote was triggered.
Theresa May makes her Downing Street statement after a confidence vote was triggered.
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PERHAPS this day will go down in history as ‘fall-out Thursday’. Whatever happens after Tory MPs held a confidence vote over the Prime Minister’s handling of Brexit, the whole sorry debacle has opened up the terrible disconnect which runs like a series of fault lines through our country.

While the rest of us have been going about our business, doing our jobs and bringing up our families, these Ministers, ex-ministers and MPs have spent hour upon hour strutting between meetings and assignments, wasting our time and our taxpayers’ money.

Brigg and Goole MP Andrew Percy.

Brigg and Goole MP Andrew Percy.

For what? The opportunity to try and unseat a leader who has done her level best to carry out a course of action foisted upon her by her predecessor, who was last seen telling Sky News that he didn’t regret calling the EU referendum.

Remainers say my Leave-voting constituents are stupid, racing and a bit too Northern, says Yorkshire MP Andrew Percy

In coming weeks, we could face not only an unresolved Brexit, but a General Election that results in the same stalemate.

Let’s remind ourselves for a moment that the conspirators, including Jacob Rees-Mogg, Boris Johnson and all those who signed a letter to trigger the no-confidence vote, are supposed to be responsible MPs, in receipt of generous salaries and allowances, and elected to represent their constituents. Their behaviour now has shown them up for what they really are – rampant egotists who believe their way is the only way.

When the fallout does settle, we can only look at the whole sorry crew and despair. How can any of us ever trust a politician again if this is how they behave? The self-indulgence of these schemers is astounding.

Just like David Cameron before them, they have no endgame to speak of. They are perfectly happy to gamble with us for their own Machiavellian ends and seemingly without a care for the things that really matter – the economy, security, the NHS, education and national cohesion.

Oh yes, national cohesion. One thing is clear. Whoever does emerge as the final winner of this wretched competition, the abyss between Parliament and the North will remain. This holds true whatever side of the aisle politicians sit on and whether they support Leave or Remain.

Only this week Andrew Percy, a former minister who represents Brigg and Goole, told MPs that the Leave voters in his constituency – and by association, across most of the North – were dismayed that certain politicians seem to think that his constituents are thick, racist and too Northern to understand what their cross in the box meant in 2016. More than 60 per cent of the electorate across the East Riding opted to leave Europe, by the way.

“Leave voters are sick to the back teeth of being told by Remainers, people who lost the referendum, what it was they voted for,” he said. “We’ve been told we’re racists, we’re a bit stupid, a bit too Northern and now we’re being told we didn’t know what we voted for. My constituents are none of those things and what they can see going on in this place is a stitch-up by people who said they accepted the result of the referendum, who are using every single trick in the book to deny the people what they voted for.”

It is heartening to hear a MP speak so vehemently and actually mention his constituents – the people who put him into Parliament. If only the hee-hawing Westminster crew would stop shouting at each other for a minute and listen, they would see that most of the electorate now hold the majority of them in nothing but contempt.

To be derided for exercising a democratic right to hold an opinion is unforgiveable. Yet there have been plenty of politicians who have seized on the opportunity to lord it over the North and use the overwhelming Leave vote as coinage to fund their patronising standpoint. “We know best” is the mantra we hear as our rail system grinds to a halt, our schools fail and our attempts at regional devolution are stymied by a government too gutless – or distracted – to give such issues the time and attention that they need.

With our future so shakily uncertain, perhaps we can take some comfort in the past. There was a Conservative leader who did have the entire country’s interests at heart. What would the great Sir Winston Churchill have made of this unholy mess? His leadership steered the nation through the Second World War, the most testing time in our history. A far less successful peacetime leader, he did, nevertheless, respect the principle of pulling together.

Such respect is now in very short supply. These conspirators against Mrs May are entirely irresponsible. The last thing 
the country needs is a rudderless government. It casts us entirely adrift.

Can you imagine what the 
rest of the world must be thinking about us? A once-great country betrayed by a ruling class which puts its own personal and political interests before 
the people.