You have to admire the PM’s sheer stamina. She answered questions in Parliament on Monday for 3.5 hours on the Syrian airstrikes. Dozens and dozens of questions from many people of a sharply different opinion to her on the matter, and many who would love to see her make a mistake over it. The following day she was back in the Commons to lead the debate over ‘Who takes Britain to War?’ This was the topic of a book I wrote last year. I am glad that nearly everyone now seems to agree with me and my co-author, Mark Lomas QC, that at least under circumstances such as those we saw in Syria, it should be the PM who decides without asking for any kind of vote in Parliament.
Then on Wednesday she was back in the Commons for PMQs, and wiped the floor with Mr Corbyn and his foolish attack over the Windrush affair. Unbeknown to him, apparently, Labour were themselves at least partly responsible for it. Talk about leading with your chin… The whole thing was an appalling administrative error, which must now be put right. The 250 or so people involved are as British as anyone else, and they must be reassured of it. We invited people from the British Commonwealth to come here to put right some of the decay and dereliction left by the war. It was the Windrush generation who answered our call, and their right to British citizenship must now be without doubt.
On top of all of that Mrs May was hosting CHOGM, the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in London. She spoke at numerous events, attended State Banquets and was generally fully active in welcoming the heads of Commonwealth countries from across the Globe. I was delighted that the Commonwealth agreed that the Prince of Wales should be its head when The Queen -very sadly - decides to hand it on. It was St Thomas Aquinas who first defined the ’Common Weal’ – that those in authority must rule not for themselves but for the common good of all. The Commonwealth firmly espouses those- rather British- virtues, and it is right that we should seek to spread them as far round the old British Empire as we possibly can.
I had children from Royal Wootton Bassett’s Noremarsh Primary School up in Parliament during the week, and dropped in to speak to Years 5 and 6 in Box Church of England Primary who had visited Parliament a week or two earlier. In total I guess I spoke to perhaps 150 children, and what a bright bunch they were. Their level of questioning in particular was sharp and to the point. Their knowledge of politics and Parliament was astonishing and encouraging, and their willingness to engage quite outstanding for a group of ten and eleven year olds. They will go on to make an outstanding contribution to society – to the Commonwealth perhaps.
We in Britain have a huge amount to offer the world- in political and Parliamentary terms; from our outstanding education systems and high quality teachers and pupils; from our first class health service, brilliant transport and infrastructure systems; and in so many other ways. We like to knock ourselves- that is part of the British culture. But the reality is that I am delighted that the highly intelligent and capable children I met from those two local schools, and thousands like them across Britain will be our leaders post-Brexit. Our futures are in good hands indeed.