Richard Graham, the MP for Gloucester has announced on twitter today that he has resigned from the role as Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) in the foreign and Commonwealth office (FCO). He cited the reasons that he wanted to focus on the regeneration in Gloucester and the other roles he has, including being the Prime Ministers Trade Envoy. However, what a peculiar time to quit being a junior member of government, and a rather nonsensical argument. I wonder what the real reasons are behind his actions?
Most people will know that I’m not a huge fan of Richard, his attitude to those not as well off as himself leave a lot to be desired, and his rather cavalier attitude to the rules (any rules) leave a lot to be desired. However, this is a really interesting announcement, with no further detail. He has been in this role since 2010, so to leave with less than a year to go to the Election, it seems a strange if he had any aspiration of further promotion, PPS being the bottom rung of that ladder.
This idea he is going to focus more on regeneration within Gloucester just doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, as an MP his role is more strategic and therefore what is he actually going to achieve in his last 10 months in Parliament. Short of picking up a hammer himself, what will he do. If he was really serious about that, then he would have done it as a priority 4 years ago wouldn’t he? The regeneration has been a hot topic since the last Labour MP, Parmjit Dhanda, pushed so hard for the strategic focus for the regeneration that has happened to date, so it’s not a sudden new issue. In fact, is this his admission that he has neglected the regeneration issue over the past 4 years. But I also notice, in keeping his other roles, it means he still keeps his Far East trips on the tax payer.
I would hazard a guess that this is more an electoral move, he recognises that he needs to be in Gloucester more to remind electors that he is supposed to be Gloucester’s MP. A more interesting question for me is, was this his own choice, or was it “suggested”? – specially given a similar PPS quit his role yesterday too.