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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Agency boss-turned MP will resign Tory whip if government breaks law

Hunters chairman Kevin Hollinrake, who is also a Conservative MP, has given notice that he would resign the party whip if the government broke the law over Brexit.

There has been speculation in some quarters that Boris Johnson and his advisors may be preparing to defy legislation, formally agreed yesterday, that would oblige him to seek an extension to the Brexit withdrawal deadline with the EU.

Some commentators and legal experts have explicitly suggested that Johnson may be breaking the law if he defied this order, or executed it in such a way that may undermine its purpose as defined by MPs in the past week.

But Hollinrake, who is MP for Thirsk, Malton & Filey, has tweeted: “Any media speculation about Govt ignoring legislation is nonsense. Even if it was under consideration, which I’m sure it’s not, you would see a v significant number of Conservative MPs resigning the whip, including me.”

In addition, another Tory MP Mark Prisk - at one time a surveyor working at Knight Frank - says he is not intending to stand in the next General Election, whenever it comes.

In his statement he claims his departure is not down to Brexit but it reads: “I do … lament the wider decline in public discourse and the rise of narrow ideology over pragmatic common sense. Democracy in the UK, as elsewhere, needs us to listen and think, before we speak. A health society needs us to respect others’ views and to seek out ways we can work together. Too often these values are being ignored, which I deeply regret.” 

Meanwhile Hollinrake is putting himself forward as a candidate to chair the highly influential Commons Treasury Select Committee.

Nominations close later today but currently Hollinrake faces only one rival, fellow Conservative Harriet Baldwin. Both have received substantial nominations from other Tories but also MPs from other parties.

The ballot will be held tomorrow.

Here is Hollinrake’s manifesto for the role:

In my work as co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Fair Business Banking I have a strong record of holding the Treasury, banks and the FCA to account without fear or favour. I would continue this approach as Chair of the TSC, and would bring to the committee:

- a clear understanding of economics derived from 27 years building a business from start-up to an AIM-listed national network employing around 1,000 people;

- as co-Chair of the APPG Fair Business Banking since 2017, demonstrable progress in holding banks and financial institutions to account and developing compensation schemes;

- a balanced, non-partisan, robust, straight-talking approach;

- four years’ select committee experience (Housing, Communities and Local Government) since 2015.

I believe deeply that transparency and a level-playing field must underpin our economic system and we must create opportunities for all. As such, key focus areas would be:

Supporting a smooth exit from the EU and undertaking a robust, factual analysis of Government proposals;

- Levelling the playing field between consumers/SMEs and financial institutions;

- Rebalancing the economy with a greater share of investment to our regions and the devolution of powers;

- Tackling aggressive tax avoidance and simplifying the tax system including the reform of business rates, income and corporation tax;

- Climate change, the green economy, a new green deal that focuses on the impact that finance has on the environment and our obligations to the Sustainable Development Goals

I hope that Members will consider voting for me in the ballot. If there are any particular issues or concerns that Members would like to raise, please do not hesitate to contact me.

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