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A week of friendly fire in Westminster


Perhaps a blog to cleanse the pallet following another week of blanket Harry and Megan coverage?This week, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak delivered his first televised speech to the nation. In his speech, thePMre-emphasised his priorities for addressing the challenges that the nation faces in the economy, NHSand immigration. Despite being acknowledged by the political commentariat as the winner of PMQ’s thisweek, the speech went down neutrally in the press. While the PM was praised on one side for having thepublic’s priorities covered, others criticised his placid delivery and lack of mention of strikes which arecurrently disrupting working voters. With opinion polling still showing the Conservative Party ina 20-pointdeficit, rumbles of a leadership contest ahead of the next general election in 2024/2025 will only getlouder.The speech was quickly kicked from headlines as the now former Conservative MP for North WestLeicestershire Andrew Bridgen tweeted COVID-19 misinformation, stating the vaccines as the worsthumanitarian atrocity since the holocaust. The tweet drew immediate criticism from MPs across the partydivide, with the Chair of the APPG for Antisemitism rumored to have quickly contacted 10 Downing Streetto raise concern over the tweet. Conservative Party Whips quickly moved to suspend Bridgen from theParliamentary Party, meaning the number of Independent MPs currently sitting now outnumbers the totalof Lib Dem MPs in Parliament. Andrew Bridgenin little time appeared on the Reclaim Party’s Twitter feeddefending his actions. Pressure now mounts on the former Tory MP to resign his seat ahead of the nextelection.But it was not just blue-on-blue this week. Wednesday evening brought ITV viewers of Peston asensational ding-dong between former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and former leadershipcandidate Liz Kendall. In a brutal take-down of the former leader, Liz Kendall told Corbyn that his handlingof the antisemitism crisis in the UK LabourParty was unacceptable, and demanded an apology that Corbynwas not willing to provide. In his response, the former leader told Kendall that he never questioned thatantisemitism was bad, but that reports of it in the Party were exaggerated. This drew wide criticism fromStarmer circles and activists, who heaped praise on Kendall for taking the fight to him on an issue thatplagued the Party between 2015 and 2020. Corbyn loyalists however, desperately attempted to questionKendall’s motives as a candidatewho received a mere 4% in the 2015 leadership election.In good news for Sir Keir Starmer however, his strategy of winning over moderate Conservative votersappears to have begun bearing fruit. This week, former Minister under Theresa May, Claire Perry O’Neillquit the Conservative Party, stating that it has become ‘overcome by ideology and self-obsession'. Theformer MP and COP26 President praised the work of Starmer and also said “Building a low-carbon, secure,affordable energy system for the UK is an immense challenge that needs sober, fact-driven, competentpolitical leadership. I sense that is exactly what we will get should Labour win the next General Election.”Adding some characteristic salt to the wounds, former Rushcliffe MP and Minsterial heavyweight underMargaret Thatcher and John Major came out this week that a Labour Government led by Keir Starmerwould give the Conservatives a chance to “rest”.So, it's handbags in Westminster as always–but yet another week of both Party leaders drawing criticismand failing to cut through the recent royal row.


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