A Strong Voice for Croydon Central - Gavin Barwell MP
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Who do I work for?
21/02/2011 19:23:00

Another revealing exchange with Labour Councillor Tim Godfrey on Twitter today.

He referred to David Cameron as my boss.

Now I would be the first to concede that most of the 19,657 people who voted for me did so because they wanted to see a Conservative Government and David Cameron as Prime Minister, rather than voting for me personally. It follows that they would generally want me to support what David Cameron is trying to do.

But he is not my boss - and the fact that Tim believes so is a rather depressing insight into his thinking. I work for the 80,000 odd electors in Croydon Central. My job is to represent their views and interests to the best of my ability.

That's what I've tried to do since I was elected last May. Most of the time, I have supported the Government. But when I think they have got something wrong - like the amount of money Croydon Council gets to care for unaccompanied asylum seeking children - I've been prepared to say so and had some success in getting the Government to change its mind.

I take the same approach with my Conservative colleagues at the Town Hall. Overall, I think they are doing a great job in difficult circumstances. But where I think they're making a mistake - like the proposed parking restrictions in central Croydon or the possible closure of Shirley Library - I say so.

From the feedback I get, I think that's the approach most people want from their politicians - loyalty to the party they stood for but not slavish loyalty.

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Readers' Comments

On 21/03/2011 21:20:00 Alan Alderton wrote:
Dear Mr Barwell

I would very much like to know what your views are on giving us the electors the referendom on the vote about staying in europe? Is it yes or no? My vote for you next time around depends on this important issue. Thank you.

On 23/03/2011 11:25:00 Anthony Miller wrote:
Hum. I think you protest too much. According to the online dictionary:

boss 1 (bôs, bs)



a. An employer or a supervisor.

b. One who makes decisions or exercises authority.

2. A professional politician who controls a party or a political machine.

So I would say he is your boss under definition 2 or 1b but then employment is no longer that simple for many of us. For example, if I book someone, albeit that they are self-employed, for the time they are on stage I am "the boss" - meaning that I am the one taking the financial risk of no one coming and get the blame if they say anything highly inflammatory on stage. I take the same level of responsibility and get the same level of blame whether it is the newest open spot or Stewart Lee - the only thing that changes is the level of risk and the particular overheads of each booking - therefore I have decided that while I am responsible I am the boss and if I'm not then I must be stupid.

Similarly as leader of the Conservative Party Mr Cameron is in charge of taking the blame for the party's overall performance in elections and making sure of the party's finances and to an extent candidate selections.

While in the strictest sense it is ultimately the electors who hire and fire MPs, your argument that the PM does not have responsibility for you so is not your boss in any sense depends on whether you could win an election without the support of the party. Recent history would suggest that it is very hard for MPs to win elections in Croydon

without the support of their party. Therefore your argument is really spurious sophistry.

I dont see what you have to be ashamed of in him being your boss anyway. It's like me saying Tony Newman is Tim's boss - just a statement of fact.

On 31/03/2011 10:51:00 Gavin Barwell wrote:

My view is that if enough people want a referendum on an issue then one should take place. The Government is introducing a law to this effect in respect of local referenda and it should do the same with respect to national issues.


With respect, I don't think it is sophistry. If I were appointed a Minister then the Prime Minister would obviously be my boss. As an MP who stood as a representative of political party, I obviously have a loyalty to that party but if MPs start thinking of their party machine as their boss, rather than the people they were elected to represent, we are on a very slippery slope.




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Gavin Barwell, House of Commons, SW1A 1AA, Tel  020 8660 0491      © Gavin Barwell  2017       Promoted by Ian Parker on behalf of Gavin Barwell, both at 36 Brighton Road, Purley, CR8 2LG