Well, the people have spoken. 46% anyway (where were you, 54% – let me know on Twitter). And you have selected as your next MP Steve Tuckwell of the Conservatives. I thought it would be useful to document some of the things he promised and did as part of this campaign.
Remember the hustings on 13 July 2023? Steve Tuckwell doesn’t, because he didn’t go. Didn’t send a proxy, didn’t turn up late, just didn’t go. The next day his team started showing recordings of the council meeting that he attended instead, and frankly it seems like a very poor excuse for missing a fundamental part of the democratic process.
Frankly Steve Tuckwell is either afraid of the electorate or holds them in contempt.
The core of Steve Tuckwell’s campaign was opposition to London’s Ultra-Low Emissions Zone expansion into Hillingdon. Clearly it makes sense to listen to local issues when campaigning, but Tuckwell deliberately ignored several key points:
- The MP for Uxbridge & South Ruislip has absolutely no power over ULEZ. This is a devolved Greater London Authority power, therefore it sits with the Mayor’s office, not parliament.
- ULEZ was first rolled out by Boris Johnson while Mayor. For those that don’t recall, Johnson was a Conservative.
- Hillingdon was included in a letter that Grant Shapps sent to Sadiq Khan requiring the expansion of ULEZ. Grant Shapps was at the time a Conservative Transport Minister.
In short, this entire promise was a lie built on a foundation of lies. Steve Tuckwell has done the political equivalent of promising voters a unicorn each, and he will have as much success delivering the herd of unicorns he now owes.
Importantly, the Conservatives might apply pressure on Sadiq Khan to slow or mitigate the expansion of ULEZ. It is vital to remember that anything they do at this point is something they could have done with or without Steve Tuckwell as an MP.
This was a truly disgraceful campaign, and I hope that voters remember these promises and omissions when Tuckwell campaigns to keep his seat at the general election, whenever that is.
Uxbridge Police Station
Throughout this election, Tuckwell claimed that Sadiq Khan was closing Uxbridge Police Station. This of course glosses over the fact that the partial closure of the station was down to – you guessed it – Boris Johnson, the serial liar and regular absentee from Uxbridge. Not as an MP, but as Mayor. Which, like the ULEZ issue above, is where the powers for policing lie, not with the local MP.
As such, this is another example of Tuckwell making promises that he does not have the power to deliver.
A recurring theme through the campaign was the state of Hillingdon Hospital, famously referred to as a monstrosity by Wes Streeting, Shadow Health Secretary. The issue here is not the staff – though the Conservatives are responsible for the repeated strike action – but the building itself. In short, it is dilapidated and needs a very significant investment to modernise the building and upgrade the services that the wonderful staff have to help us with our health needs.
Sadly, no mention was made of the fact that the former MP – one Boris Johnson – supposedly secured funding several years ago for much-needed upgrades. Ground has not been broken, contracts have not been agreed, funding has not been released. In short, the Conservatives have absolutely no progress to show after 13 years in government.
Given this, it was depressing to see Tuckwell running on the promise to help the hospital, as Conservatives have had ample opportunity to help the NHS in the last 13 years, and have failed to do so at every turn.
It feels very early to be making a prediction for what pledges a politician will keep and which they will break. In this case, though, I am confident that I can predict which promises will be kept – none of them – and which will be broken – all of them. This is down to the fact that Tuckwell’s main priorities of ULEZ and Uxbridge Police Station are entirely outside his control. His other priority of getting an investment for Hillingdon Hospital is, I suspect, doomed to failure based on how the Conservatives have treated the NHS to date.