In 2023, Boris Johnson was forced to resign in disgrace as MP for Uxbridge & South Ruislip following the investigation into his repeated lies to Parliament over Partygate. In the wake of that, a by-election was triggered in Uxbridge & South Ruislip, which ultimately resulted in Steve Tuckwell being returned as MP with a margin of only 500 or so votes (with a total cast for Tuckwell of just under 14,000).
So who is Steve Tuckwell, what did he run his campaign on, and what has he done so far? This analysis will attempt to show that he is wholly unsuitable to be Uxbridge & South Ruislip’s MP, and why.
This isn’t just going to be a political hit piece from an opponent, this is going to be a deep dive into Tuckwell’s political history and will include sources for any claims or comments that are relevant.
There’s nothing particularly noteworthy about Steve Tuckwell’s career. He was a manager for Royal Mail and worked for a vehicle leasing company. Nothing that screams that he would be good or bad for the role of elected representative.
In 2018, Steve Tuckwell joined Hillingdon Council as a councillor, standing as a Conservative candidate. As such, Tuckwell has been involved with the Council for five years at the time of writing, and as a senior person within the local party, it is fair to say that he had influence over most things that happened in Hillingdon. So what has he achieved?
Looking at the Hillingdon Council website, it is pretty unclear. According to that, Tuckwell has only voted on 24 issues in that five-year period, so I think it is fair to say that his contributions were not prolific.
Setting that aside for a moment, let’s consider what Hillingdon has achieved recently. Luckily I put together a list of the increased costs and charges some time ago, during a time when Tuckwell was a councillor but not yet an MP. These cost increases are indicative of a council in financial trouble, and since the council itself and the national government have both been Conservative for over a decade, there’s no-one else to blame.
I was fortunate enough to enjoy a front-row seat to the Uxbridge by-election, as I was heavily involved in assisting my predecessor Blaise Baquiche with his campaign. Unfortunately, we weren’t successful, but we did learn some lessons and stocked up some ammunition for the next campaign – this one.
In short, Steve Tuckwell ran his campaign on three points, namely:
- That he was already an experienced councillor and that Hillingdon was doing well (it wasn’t).
- That he would cancel the ULEZ expansion in Hillingdon (he couldn’t).
- That he would reopen Uxbridge Police Station (he hasn’t).
Many of his campaigning issues stem from the fact that he made promises he had no way of achieving. MPs have no power over ULEZ, as that is a devolved power of the Greater London Assembly. His Conservative mayoral candidate colleague, Susan Hall, could probably have explained that to him, assuming she was able to recover from her entirely fictitious pickpocketing incident. I imagine I will be covering Susan Hall more in future blog posts, but suffice it to say, she’s ludicrously unqualified for any position of responsibility, let alone Mayor of a city the size of London.
Likewise the status of Uxbridge police station is under the purview of the London Metropolitan Police, which itself is under the auspices of the Mayor.
As such, Tuckwell’s entire campaign was based on lies. He has no more power as an MP to stop ULEZ expansions or to reopen Uxbridge police station than he had as a normal person. Arguably he actually had more power as just a councillor than an average MP would have. He had no business standing as an MP candidate if he knew that his promises were not just unlikely but outright impossible to achieve. He might as well have promised all voters in Uxbridge £1 million for all the realism it offered. It might sound nice to think about receiving such a largess, but it’s simply not going to happen.
It’s fair to say that this on its own could be considered biased reporting about a political opponent, and it is much harder to attack someone’s campaign pledges during their campaign itself. So let’s look at what he has actually done since getting elected.
Once someone gets into Parliament, their voting record becomes a matter of public interest. Hansard reports on everything that a member says in the debate chamber and every vote they participate in, including their actual stance on the matter. There are many aggregation tools which summarise this voting record, but the one I have used is Public Whip.
The first noteworthy statistic is the number of rebellions. This indicates the number of times an MP has disagreed with what their party has decided. That figure? Zero. Not once in (at the time of writing) 79 votes. That means that he has voted for:
- Rwanda to be declared a safe nation in spite of all evidence to the contrary.
- Restrictions on the actions of trade unions, removing worker rights.
- Hiding the school safety report from public access, meaning parents around the country had no information on whether their children were attending a deathtrap.
- Criminalising nitrous oxide at a time when the prisons are over capacity.
In short, he has voted exactly as Rishi Sunak tells him every single time. He has not voted in the interests of the country as a whole or the people of Hillingdon. He has done nothing to re-open Uxbridge police station or to halt the expansion of ULEZ as he promised to do.
During one of the hustings he stated that “Boris [Johnson] isn’t here, I am”. In reality, Steve Tuckwell is just a continuation of Boris Johnson. There’s nothing for the people of Uxbridge & South Ruislip in there.
Tuckwell vs Rex-Hawkes
It’s worth exploring how we differ in terms of our core stances so that you can decide for yourself who better aligns with your own political beliefs.