It is very disappointing that the letter which is shown here was signed by so few (46) Tory MPs. The truth is that their party claims to be one that is focused on the needs of business. Indeed a few weeks ago on 27th June, Gillian Keegan the MP for Chichester spoke in Parliament claiming “We are the only serious party of business” so it is very sad that Gillian did not [get invited to] sign this letter herself [which she has explained since I wrote this blog]. However two Sussex MPs did sign it, Nicholas Soames and Amber Rudd. Of course support for business is not restricted to the Tories. On Monday Caroline Lucas spoke up in a debate and stated “I support all those who have been arguing for continued membership of the customs union, and therefore I support new clause 1. It is clear from everything we have heard today that, if we are to avoid serious economic hardship, membership of the customs union is essential. Frankly, the wrecking ball that the hard Brexiteers would bring to British business and industry is pretty extraordinary, and all for what?” Another local MP, Peter Kyle is a member of the BEIS select committee and he too speaks up on behalf of business needs.
Following on from the resignation a week ago of Andrew Griffith as the small business Minister I wrote a piece arguing for the selection of either Gillian in the light of her comments and other statements or Heidi Allen who a friend suggested would make a good small business Minister. The new Minister is in fact Kelly Tolhurst who according to Wikipedia helped to run her fathers business for 7 years prior to her election as an MP in 2015 and served on the same committee as Peter Kyle. The frustrating element of Government Biographies on Department websites is that they rarely say anything outside of Westminster actions and that is certainly the case in Kelly’s listing. Whatever her knowledge of business it is deeply frustrating that she did not sign [or possibly get asked to sign] the letter above. One wonders how willing she will be to listen to businesses as we approach Brexit. It is vital that the content of this letter continues to be raised as a priority by our Government!