The House


- Sir Graham Brady The House Advisory Board Chair

It’s all too common these days to say Parliament doesn’t matter, the real action is on television or even social media. Recent events prove how mistaken that is. The foundation­s of the Truss government were certainly shaken by the adverse market reaction to the infamous “mini budget” but it was the chaotic scenes in the Chamber and the division lobby on Wednesday 19 October that brought the whole edifice down. A minister at the despatch box telling the Conservati­ve benches that a vote on an opposition day motion was not a matter of confidence, while the whips still maintained that it was, proved more than unsettling for the government benches.

The fact that the motion was really an attempt by the opposition to hi-jack the order paper is a level of detail that would be difficult to explain to many outside Westminste­r, leaving a number of colleagues keen to abstain and worried that they might lose the whip if they did so. Briefly, it seemed that the chief whip and the deputy had both resigned before it was made clear that they were still in post!

That night and the following morning, a trickle of messages and letters from colleagues became a torrent and it became apparent the parliament­ary party wanted a change sooner, rather than later. As I reached for my phone to request a meeting with the prime minister, a message flashed up asking me to go in to No 10 to see her. What could have been a difficult conversati­on was made easier by the fact she had reached the same conclusion. The 1922 Committee’s decision to run a rapid election with a high – but achievable – threshold for nomination­s was vindicated when two candidates reached the 100 required number. Boris Johnson’s decision not to submit his nomination allowed the quickest result. The rest, as they say, is history.

And with that it was back to one of my other jobs – chairing The House magazine. This issue, devoted to the topic of transport, is as packed full of features, interviews, gossip and comment as ever. Enjoy.

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