MP’s Column

People in West Cornwall seem more bemused than interested in the ‘fall-out’ between senior Conservative figures.

MPs are expected to get on with the job and make things better for our, and future, generations. It does not concern us if IDS and the Chancellor get on.

What is important are the issues at the heart of this disagreement. In 2010 the UK had one of the greatest debt problems of the developed world. Contributing to this was a welfare bill that was unsustainable and, in part, counterproductive.

The Prime Minister has said, and I quote, ‘If you are genuinely sick, and vulnerable, and you need help – you will get that help. The safety net will always, always be there for you – in fact we have made it stronger.

The system we inherited was fiendishly complicated for a lot of people to access and a significant part of the welfare bill went to those who actually could be working with the right support. We said: let’s make it simpler, let’s get proper objective assessments of whether people can work and above all let us direct resources at those who really need it.’

Backbench MPs, including myself, are committed to this and the wrestling (often behind closed doors) that’s gone on since May (and continues) is about how the Government can achieve this.

It is right to reduce the Nation’s debt – public services will not be funded adequately until we do.

It is right that the people who need our help and support get it and it is important that no one is left behind – this is a mark of a caring and civilised society. However, it is a complex and difficult balance to strike. This debate will run and run, mistakes will be made (and must be corrected quickly).

I want to be part of a society that genuinely cares for everybody and I believe it is possible to keep control over our finances.

I have appreciated the time people have taken to raise their own concerns and experiences.

I do not underestimate the enormity of the task.

Derek Thomas
Member of Parliament for St Ives