After the government backtracked on their pledge not to raise National Insurance for the self-employed, 15,700 of whom live and work in the New Forest, our Conservative MP (Sir Desmond Swayne) wrote an article in a local paper defending his government for breaking that pledge.

Then, when it became apparent that there would be a serious backlash against the move, the Government made a screeching, embarrassing U-turn.

New Forest West’s Conservative MP then stood up in Parliament and asked to ‘recant’ after defending the rise.

I have absolutely no sympathy. It is the job of the MP to stick by their principles and to represent their constituents.

It is not the job of the MP to, as our MP so depressingly termed it, be a “slavish follower of the government”.

The communities that the MP represents want an MP that stands up for them.

They don’t want an MP that stands up for the government against its people.

Do we really know where the MP draws the line between principled stance and populist virtue-signalling?

Cllr Jack Davies

Chair of New Forest Liberal Democrats