Sir Graham Brady, Member of Parliament for Alternacum and Cell West, is one of the country’s most influential politicians – and one of the most outspoken in principle.
Trafford Local Democracy Reporter Alice Richardson presents some of the biggest political stories of the past few months this week in a question-and-answer session with Sir Graham, chairman of the Beck Ganch 1922 Committee.
In this candid interview, Sir Graham shares his thoughts on government management of epidemics, the departure of former Health Secretary Matt Hancock, and his views on greens in his backyard.
Q: When the government announced its decision to postpone the Independence Day on June 21, do you agree with this mentality and what are your views on this decision?
A: I did not agree with the delay and voted against it. There is already strong evidence that vaccines are effective in preventing serious illness from the so-called ‘delta variant’. It has since been revealed that vaccines work better than before. I welcome the lifting of some restrictions on marriage but there are still many couples who have had to re-arrange for a second or third time.
Q: What are the feelings on the back benches now? Does the government support its approach to easing restrictions and travel restrictions to a large extent or is there dissatisfaction in the conservative ranks?
A: I think MPs are hearing concerns from those who are afraid of their livelihood or who are anxious to see family members abroad. I think people are expected to treat adults and allow them to make some decisions about their lives and their families.
Q: What do you think about the emphasis on ‘personal responsibility’ after July 19?
A: I have always believed that the British tradition is for the government to serve the people – not to tell people what to do. There is a long wait for those who accept their responsibility to return and I hope we will move towards this approach in July.
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Q: How likely do you feel that vaccine passports will be introduced in the UK and made mandatory?
A: I think we can all accept that travelers abroad can expect to be vaccinated for polio – or have negative testing evidence. Vaccine passports are unnecessary as well as divisive when visiting a store or pub. The vaccine works and very vulnerable people had both shots a long time ago. We should feel that we have a certain degree of security and we should be less afraid.
Q: What do you think about the impact of the epidemic on children’s education, economy, civil liberties and standards in public life? Especially in light of the fact that deaths and hospitalizations – at least not yet – are on the rise.
A: Positive testing not only increases hospital admissions and deaths but also reduces the number of infected people – possibly due to effective vaccinations. In the last 18 months, the interests of children and young people have been given a shocking priority. We must now recognize the tools of educational and social development and the dangerous effects on children’s mental health. Young people should generally enjoy school, university, sports and social life. We are indebted to them.
Q: Do you think what happened to Matt Hancock has permanently damaged public confidence in the government?
A: Matt Hancock’s behavior was hypocritical and obviously his position was incomparable. I hope that the new Foreign Secretary will take a permanent course to lift sanctions.
Q: Following the results of the recent local government elections, where the Green Party is second only to Hale Barnes in the second strongest part of the Conservative members, do you think Alternacum could move toward Brighton and the Southeast ? Do you think the actions of the central government and Boris Johnson could separate lifelong Conservative voters in Trafford?
A: I doubt that people will be less likely to vote for the Green Party if they know about opposition to grammar schools, Labor plans to build on the Green Belt in Temperley, or their hard-line economic policies. Will We need to work harder to get these facts.