In having nothing to say about Rishi Sunak, new Tory MP Steve Tuckwell said it all

Some people, like Britain's prime minister, have hideously good luck
Rishi Sunak and Steve Tuckwell on the campaign trail in former prime minister Boris Johnson's old constituency, Uxbridge and South Ruislip. Photo: The Conservative Party, CC BY 2.0

Rishi Sunak seems to have hideously good luck. For instance, he became prime minister but only after Liz Truss and Boris Johnson had made a ruinous mess of the Conservative government and Britain’s reputational status worldwide. As of this week, Mr Sunak’s hideous good luck took on yet another human form – a man named Steve Tuckwell.

Mr Tuckwell is a newly elected member of parliament belonging to Mr Sunak’s Conservative Party. On July 20, he managed to hold on to former prime minister Johnson’s parliamentary seat – Uxbridge and South Ruislip – by less than 500 votes. It was a win for the Conservatives, their only one of the three parliamentary byelections held in the UK on the same day. All three seats started out on election day as solid Conservative constituencies. By the next morning, two of them – Selby and Ainsty and Somerton and Frome – had switched from Conservative to Labour and the Liberal Democrats with a 24 per cent and a 29 per cent swing respectively.

To many, Mr Tuckwell embodies good luck for Conservative Party leader Rishi Sunak. In actual fact, he could be said to signal the opposite. In his victory speech, Mr Tuckwell attributed his election success to…London’s Labour mayor Sadiq Khan. He particularly credited Mr Khan’s controversial and polarising Ultra Low Emission Zone scheme (ULEZ) for his stunning success on election day. This area doesn’t want a ULEZ, Mr Tuckwell declared, and he appealed, in a faintly threatening way, to Labour leader Keir Starmer and Mayor Khan to listen to the people of Uxbridge and South Ruislip. Not a word did Mr Tuckwell say about Rishi Sunak, his party leader and prime minister; no obeisance did he pay to Mr Sunak’s five pledges as the captain of the ship of state; he seemed utterly oblivious to Mr Sunak’s laborious and painful task of steering the hulking government, in choppy waters and with an enervated and washed-up Conservative Party crew that has been in power for 13 years.

Mr Tuckwell’s verdict on Mr Sunak was stunningly direct – he ignored his party’s leader and prime minister. In having nothing to say about Rishi Sunak, the newest Tory MP said it all.

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