Damien Moore, member of Parliament (MP) for Southport, is the only Conservative MP in the Merseyside region. He was elected in the snap general election of 2017 after being unsuccessful in the 2015 general election.
Damien spoke about election night in June 2017 where his team originally would not let him go to the declaration in Southport, despite wanting to himself. Damien reiterated how he was still confident about securing victory in Southport despite the national result of the general election. Prior to the question and answer session, Damien also emphasised the importance of becoming involved in local politics, commending those who campaigned as part of the Young Conservatives in the region and encouraged the audience to join him door-knocking the following day in Southport.
Prior to addressing the Young Conservative society, I managed to ask a few questions to Damien beforehand:
Why shouldn’t Leave voters punish the Tories in the next election amid the state of the Brexit negotiations?
Because we are leaving the European Union. We don’t know what that deal looks like yet. It’s still under negotiation but we’re still clear on the fact that Theresa May is committed in leaving the EU, fulfilling the wishes of the 17.4 million voters that voted to Leave the EU.
What can the Tories offer for young people?
We are offering people jobs if you look at unemployment: it’s the lowest we have ever had. That’s a good thing. We’re attracting investment into this country still. Our economy is growing and we’ve got more people coming into this country from all over the world because of the opportunities Britain holds than ever before.
How can we detoxify politics?
It’s probably a question more for other political parties. I think in terms of where we stand. We believe in people being equal. We’ve got Labour MPs calling their own leader racist; where you’ve had a particularly abhorrent election campaign, where particularly women were targeted and things were said about them which were extremely undesirable. The people involved in that were militants, they wanted to have this war – this struggle – and they are not really sensible rational people; they are more interested in divisive politics that divides us, that’s very toxifying (sic). To detoxify this, I think you can have a difference of opinion – you can be in a different party – but the way you act should be properly and lawfully is the right thing to do. It’s not wrong to say you can’t work with other parties. It’s just unfortunate at the moment we have a polarization of the political spectrum and we’ve got people intent on not working together. If you look at John McDonnell, for example, asking for Esther McVey to be lynched: I think that’s very toxifying (sic)
Esther McVey said ‘some’ will be worse off under universal credit, is it time to simply abolish the system?
Well, the fact is that Universal Credit is in in-work which incentivizes work which is what we need to do – need to give people the opportunities. We used to get people who worked over 16 hours per week, then they were punished. A thousand jobs per day created since 2010: a remarkable achievement for any government. And the one thing I would say about UC is that it has been rolled out in a number of places and the Government has made amendments to the universal credit program as and when these problems have arisen.
Following his speech, Damien invited the audience to ask questions in which they raised important issues within contemporary domestic and international politics.
Are you fearful of the break-up of the UK?
I don’t think there is going to be a break up. I think it’s another story that appeared and things have been taken out of context. It’s part of the negotiation to solve the Northern Ireland border but the strongest union is the UK. Our economy performs very well and is quite capable. Two sides (the UK and EU) are going hammer and tongs because it makes good viewing. I am quite confident that we will not break up the union; I am a member of the Conservative and Unionist Party after all.
What is the Tory party doing to tackle Islamophobia and antisemitism?
Comments like this are not acceptable in our party in any way shape or form first and foremost. Individual comments from MPs do not represent our party. Boris Johnson has a way of phrasing things although it is not my technique. He shouldn’t have said what he said but it was blown out of all proportion. Everyone is latching on for their own political gain. Antisemitism definitely does not exist within our party. On the other hand, in Labour, you have MPs attacking their own leadership; their own MPs walking around conference with security. There is not a level of militancy within the Conservative Party.
I do not determine the disciplinary procedure in the Conservative Party. If Boris Johnson held these views, he would not have been mayor of London twice. If he was that bad, the people would not have voted for him. Stories such as this is often used to create a media storm.
What impact do you think emerging technologies have on international trade?
We have to invest in the stem subjects. The solutions to the problems we have can arise as a consequence of technology. Britain has to be well placed in this field. Israel, for example, invests four percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) in technology which is a colossal amount for a country that size in that part of the world and especially given the political context. If the vision of Global Britain is to be realised, we need to lead the world in technology. In Parliament, we have all-party parliamentary groups (APPG) which runs like a select committee. There is a panel of industry experts as well as other experts and there is a cross-examination. It is not just a general question and answer session but we discuss specific aspects such as the impact of technology on people. We don’t talk about bitcoin – that’s a different APPG and the association with money laundering and crime. High technology employment tends to be the jobs that pay more. We have to lead in this field as they are great for the economy, people, salaries and women participation.
Is free speech under threat?
It is under threat in certain environments – you should be able to say what you want unless it has legal implications. Some people feel over-cautious now because they feel threatened about what they would say. Free speech is valued and unlike other countries where we have a free press and people are held under scrutiny.
Featured Image: Danny Rigg