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Quote of the day 21st July 2024

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The Conservatives have just taken a hell of a beating. People will not be interested in what we have to say for a while.  But this government needs an opposition. And like it or not, that's us.  Every government runs into trouble. It might happen sooner than many people think. At that stage it will be important again whether the Conservatives can provide a constructive and positive alternative.  That will have to include being a broad church - addressing some of the issues which caused some of our voters to despair of us and go to Reform while also addressing the problems which caused other people who have voted Conservative in the past to vote Lib/Dem or Labour. We will not win again without winning back voters on both the right and in the centre. That will require competence, integrity, and common sense. It will not be achieved by lower-common denominator politics. And above all, we need to remember these wise words from "The great communicator" a man who was often wron

Tuesday music spot: Roberta Mameli sings Vivaldi's "Apri le luci"

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Late night music spot: Bach, "Gute Nacht (Goodnight)

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Sunday music spot: J.S. Bach: St. Matthew Passion, "Have mercy, Lord, on me"

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Midweek music spot: J.S. Bach's Suite No 3 in D Major BWV 1068

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Supporting Ukraine.

My wife and I have just returned to Cumbria after a few days in Leeds, but as we were about to set off, earlier today, I passed the Trinity Centre in central Leeds and saw a demonstration of people protesting against Russia's barbaric and illegal attacks on Ukrainian civilians. They were suggesting that Russia's repeated attacks on hospitals, most recently on a children's cancer hospital in Kiev this week, are a war crime. They are right. Putin and his crew of murderers calling themselves a government belong in the dock of the international criminal court at the Hague. I am pleased to see strong support for Ukraine being agreed at the 75th anniversary NATO summit.

Quote of the day 8th July 2024

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I've seen a lot of versions of this quote, attributed to various different people. After the Conservatives had the worst result in our history last week, they are all relevant. We must not kid ourselves that the electorate were wrong: we must learn from what they told us. We must not imagine that there is a simple answer to the challenges facing the Conservatives any more than there are simple answers to the challenges facing the country. (If there were, we would have found them.) The country needs an opposition. At the moment, that's us. We have to provide it. We've been knocked down,  but the worst thing we could do is stay down.

Sunday music spot: Handel's "Arrival of the Queen of Sheba"

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Quote of the day 7th July 2024

"Learn from what actually happened last week, not what you are told happened by those with an axe to grind. As an example, look at the polling evidence which shows that only 36% of Reform voters say they would have voted Conservative if Reform had not stood. Simplistic solutions which involve adding the Reform vote to the Tory vote and saying “Look, there is a rightwing majority here” are delusional." "Reject any attempt to narrow the party’s appeal so that it only aims at “real Conservatives”. At a personal level I resent this attempt to say that moderate one nation Conservatives like me are lesser Conservatives than say, David Frost, who promulgates this idea frequently. I have fought nine general elections in the Conservative cause so I think I have earned my party membership card. More importantly, saying to millions of potential Conservative voters that they are not Conservative enough is weapons-grade idiocy in a first past the post electoral system. If the Conserv

MoD Defence intelligence update 6th July 2024

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Quote of the day 6th July 2024

"Democracy is never wrong" from the concession speech by Penny Mordaunt in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Defence intelligence update published by the UK Ministry of Defence on 4th July 2024

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  Obviously I was a little busy on 4th July, but putting this up now.

Jeremy Hunt's message on the change of government

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Quote of the day 5th July 2024 - In Praise of British Democracy

 Andrew Neil's Election Day Monologue on @TimesRadio yesterday "In praise of British democracy.  It’s election day in the United Kingdom, a seminal event we too often take for granted. We also do it in a very British way.  There will be no armed guards at the polling stations. No intimidating mobs. Just paper and pencil, trusted tellers and friendly canvassers.  If the British people decide it’s time to change governments, that will happen quickly and without fuss. The military will not be mobilised. Barbed wire will not be arranged around public buildings. Defeated candidates will not be fleeing the country. Riot police will not be assembling on side streets.  But a removal van — something we’ve all had to use at some stage in our lives — will turn up sometime Friday morning to help the incumbent move out. Another will bring the belongings of the new prime minister and family.  A few words from the winner outside 10 Downing Street, a round of applause as he goes through the f

As the dust settles:

A big thank you to everyone who voted for me in Leeds North East. The Conservatives must think about what the voters said to us and learn from it. I congratulate the Labour government on their election & wish them well for Britain.  But the country needs an opposition to hold them accountable.

Polls closed

The polls are now closed and the counts are beginning around the country. I am about to head to the count in Leeds North East. The voters have spoken - now we will find out what they have said.

POLLS ARE NOW OPEN

The polling stations have now opened in the UK general election. They will remain open until 10pm this evening (Thursday 4th July.) YOU WILL NEED PHOTO ID TO VOTE. Acceptable forms of ID include a driving licence, passport or a number of other options as listed on the link here: Accepted forms of photo ID | Electoral Commission This is an important election and in many constituencies the result could be very close. Whether or not you agree with anything that I write on this blog, your  vote matters. People have fought and died for the right to vote. And however imperfect our democracy may be - and I accept that it is not perfect - every country which holds meaningful elections is a better place for it. There is not a single country in the world which holds meaningful elections where I would not rather live than in any country which does not. So if you are a UK citizen with the right to vote, and have not already voted by post, (as I have,) I strongly urge you to go out and vote today.

12 hours until the polls open

It is now 12 hours until the polls open in the UK general election. Polling stations open at 7am tomorrow (Thursday 4th July) and close at 10pm. YOU WILL NEED SOME FORM OF PHOTO ID TO VOTE. Acceptable forms of ID include a driving licence, passport or a number of other options as listed on the link here: Accepted forms of photo ID | Electoral Commission This is an important election and in many constituencies the result could be very close. Whether or not you agree with anything that I write on this blog, your  vote matters. People have fought and died for the right to vote. And however imperfect our democracy may be - and I accept that it is not perfect - every country which holds meaningful elections is a better place for it. There is not a single country in the world which holds meaningful elections where I would not rather live than in any country which does not. So if you are a UK citizen with the right to vote, and have not already voted by post, (as I have,) I strongly urge you

Help for Heroes Veteran's Pledge

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I support this pledge.

UK GDP growth in first quarter of 2024 fastest in the G7

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Quote of the day 26th June 2026

"Freedom of speech is the most powerful feature of our democracy. If you’re calling for women to shut up and wishing they didn’t exist, you are the problem." (Prime Minister Rishi Sunak)

Quote of the day 25th June 2024 - statement from Giles Watling.

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Below is a statement released by Giles Watling, Conservative candidate in Clacton, about the hustings which had been planned in the constituency, but which was cancelled because Nigel Farage's team failed to respond to repeated invitations to take part. Incidentally, the Reform candidate for Clacton is not the only candidate for Reform or other parties who has not turned up to hustings in the relevant constituency. There have, so far been four hustings in the constituency where I am standing, Leeds North East, all four of which I have attended. Of the eleven candidates standing, six have made it to at least one hustings. The five candidates who have not managed to get to a single hustings in Leeds North East are the candidates representing the Liberal Democrats, the Green Party, the Yorkshire Party, the SDP, and the Reform party.  The Green candidate sent apologies - including for the Climate and Environment hustings. The Yorkshire party candidate twice indicated that he would atte

Quote of the day 24th June 2024

"Our politics would be so much healthier if people were allowed to hold - and express - different views on sensitive subjects without everyone shrieking about what a terrible person they must be." Isabel Oakeshott on X, formerly Twitter, yesterday.

Leeds leads against Anti-Semitism march this afternoon

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This afternoon in Leeds city centre my wife and I were among several hundred people who took part in a peaceful march for peace and against Anti-Semitism organised by Leeds Leads against Anti-semitism. The theme was "Our love is stronger than your hate." The march was held to call for an end to Anti-Semitism and racism. Speakers called for peace in the middle east, for Jewish people and all the communities in the UK to be able to go about their lawful business free from hate and fear, for the return of the hostages. Anti-Semitism has no place in British society. Nor does any other kind of hatred or racism, and that's why I was delighted to be invited to take part in this march.

Quote of the day 23rd June 2024

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MoD Defence intelligence update 22nd June 2024

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Music to relax after campaigning - Bach's Harpsichord concerto in A major BWV 1055

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A good campaigning session today.  Here is some music to which to relax afterwards.

Quote of the day 22nd June 2024

"As I’ve just argued on 5Live, the biggest issue in Europe today - by far - is the killing, mass wounding and terrorising of innocent men, women and children in the Ukraine war.  No one, in any way whatsoever, should give even an inch of excuse for the bloodstained author of all of this: Vladimir Putin.  Not the EU. Not Nato. Putin." ( Tim Montgomerie on X, formerly Twitter)

Action for older people

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I met representatives of Age UK today as part of their "Tea with your next MP event." We discussed issues including access to GP appointments, public transport, support for t he voluntary organisations which do so much to help older people, and adult social care. I committed that if elected I would act as a champion for older people. Here is a press release I published after the event explaining what the Conservatives will do for older people if elected.