Tag Archives: ldv talks

“God I felt in the right place” LDV talks to Dr Phillip Lee MP about his dramatic entrance to the Lib Dems.

It was a moment of high drama. As Boris Johnson started his statement on the European Council on Tuesday afternoon, Phillip Lee walked into the Commons Chamber. Rather than turn left to the Government benches as he had every time since his election in 2010, he turned right and took a seat next to Jo Swinson.

This afternoon I spoke to him, just after he had been talking to the Washington Post and he relived that moment.

It wasn’t easy on a personal level. You can imagine, I was a member of a political party for 27 years, I’ve got relationships that are well established and some of them are going to be strained by all of this.

After he’d sat down, his watch started buzzing to tell him that his heart rate had been over 120 beats per minute for over four minutes. He had to do some deep breathing to coax it back to normal.

Today was his first day back in his constituency since crossing the floor. A walk around a new shopping centre in Bracknell had laid bare the polarisation our country faces today:

It was love and hate. It was really quite remarkable.

He’d been thinking about joining us for a few months, talking to friends and family and reading the Preamble to our Constitution and said that he felt that our ideas of equality, justice and community were where he was. You don’t, he said, just have a hissy fit and change political parties, but the final event that propelled him our way was Jacob Rees-Mogg’s LBC interview on Monday in which he disparaged Dr David Nicholls, who had contributed to the Yellowhammer Report on no deal preparations. Mogg made “dreadful statements, comparing him to someone who had been struck off.”

It made me feel as a practising medical doctor that I’d made the right decision.

That feeling intensified the next day at Prime Minister’s Questions, which he described as the worst display he’d seen by both Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition.

His friend, Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, the Labour MP for Slough, asked Boris Johnson to apologise for the derogatory and racist remarks he’d made on many occasions in the past and which had led to a rise in hate crime. The PM’s dismissive answer fired up Jo Swinson so much that she handed Johnson his backside on a plate. shortly afterwards.

Phillip knows Slough well. He has worked there as a GP for over a decade and knows its diverse communities, where 60 languages are spoken, backwards.

God I felt in the right place.

All of that appalling language in that article, it matters in communities like that because language matters and for the PM to be so dismissive confirmed in my heart that I was in the right party.

As a doctor, he said that he had problems with the Health and Social Care Bill during the coalition years. He raised his issues privately with then Health Secretary Andrew Lansley and regrets that he toed the line and voted in favour of it – a view no doubt shared by many Liberal Democrats.

His move to our party has not been without controversy. There has been considerable anxiety, which has led to the resignations of Federal Conference Committee and LGBT+ office bearers Sarah Brown and Jennie Rigg. Both of them are close friends of mine and I’ve felt intensely sad this week. The party is already missing the massive amount of work that they do and I hope that we will be able to welcome them back one day.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 30 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarPaul Barker 15th Oct - 8:14pm
    While I understand some of the concerns expressed in this thread I disagree about the threats facing us. Right now, it seems to be that...
  • User AvatarDavid Evans 15th Oct - 7:36pm
    TonyH - It's not tribal to expect senior appointments to be long standing Lib Dems with real knowledge of how the UK political system grinds...
  • User Avatarfrankie 15th Oct - 6:57pm
    They may indeed hang tough for awhile, but as a country we are unused to pain, especially the boomer generation. When bad things happen expect...
  • User AvatarCllr Fran Oborski MB 15th Oct - 6:52pm
    He appears to be a LibDem Member but Id like to know for how long and in which Constituency as I would then like to...
  • User AvatarGuinevere Barnes 15th Oct - 6:00pm
    While much electricity is generated from renewables and nuclear, much is still generated from CC gas turbine plants with an efficiency of around 50% -...
  • User AvatarTonyH 15th Oct - 5:41pm
    His CV is impressive, But it is certainly a concern that he was a Labour SPAD from 2006-9. https://uk.linkedin.com/in/mike-dixon-6252b138 Has he perhaps joined the party...