Published: 16:07, 19 December 2019
| Updated: 16:08, 19 December 2019
A Kent MP has urged her colleagues to help restore the reputation of Parliament in an address inspired by Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.
Tracey Crouch addresses the Commons
The former minister joked that she was anxious about having been chosen as normally it was handed to someone whose best years were behind them.
“The speech is usually a gift reserved by the whips for those thought to have had their best times,” she said. Referring to the Prime Minister she said: “The chief - a man well known for his elegance, charm and wit - has clearly clocked it is panto season, so for asking me to do this is the equivalent of shouting 'your career is behind you'.”
MP's shouted back “oh no it’s not” but it was not a strong enough response for Ms Crouch, the former sports minister, who in turn responded by saying: "Mr Speaker I would feel a bit more reassured if indeed the Prime Minister joined in."
She joked that she had considered her own spoof of festive rom-com classic Love Actually but had decided that “Hugh Grant has probably had enough.” That was a reference to to the prime minister's appearance in a Conservative spoof video during the election campaign.
But she also raised the issue of the reputation of Parliament and MPs as well as welcoming government proposals for more money for the NHS and tougher sentences for criminals.
Quoting Charles Dickens, she said how he passionately wrote about poverty, and they must learn such lessons, adding: "Mercy and altruism must remain our mission in today's Conservative Party."
She also had a joke at the expense of the former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab, who infamously said he had not quite realised the importance of the Dover Calais straits.
She ended with an appeal for MPs to work together, saying the Commons is "at its best when we work together" and called for parties to "let friendships thrive through diversity and respect our differences."