Say what you want about Julian Lewis, but Boris Johnson’s overreaction proves the senior backbencher is no stooge

Send your letters to

Thursday 16 July 2020 12:11 BST
Conservative MP Julian Lewis
Conservative MP Julian Lewis (PA)

Surely, it is indicative of how quickly we are falling to our political nadir in this country when I feel compelled to write a letter expressing my delight at the appointment of an ardent Brexit supporter to the chair of the Intelligence and Security Committee.

In normal times, Julian Lewis – once described as one of the most vigorous right-wingers in the Commons – would be the last person to get my support on virtually any issue. However, on a purely pragmatic stance, I must congratulate him on usurping Chris Grayling to the post and ensuring that the committee is not reduced to a laughing stock.

Further, looking at the overreaction from our woeful prime minister and his puppet master – by removing the whip from Lewis – it is now confirmed that he is no stooge and it is all but certain that Chris Grayling was preferred purely on the basis that he would act as a Downing Street lackey.

Robert Boston
Kingshill, Kent

BLM means no OBE

One central issue tied to Black Lives Matter is the challenge against the acceptance of established norms, such as awards like OBEs. Benjamin Zephaniah rejected his nomination because, “It reminds me of slavery, it reminds me of thousands of years of brutality…” Other members of the Bame community to reject these nominations were footballer Howard Gayle, who turned down an MBE, saying his “ancestors would be turning in their graves after how empire and colonialism had enslaved them”.

While George the Poet turned down an MBE and called the empire “pure evil”, David Olusoga (now seemingly a poster-boy of the “concerned” middle-class) on the other hand accepted his OBE award, later to comment that Britain’s imperial past, “had terrible, terrible episodes”. But not terrible enough for him to refuse it, an award which in its title celebrates the one word synonymous with racism – empire.

Frank Kenny

Answer the question

Irrespective of all party politics, the concept of PMQs is that an incumbent prime minister has to answer questions from the leader of the opposition. That questioning is chaired by the speaker of the house, currently Lindsay Hoyle. The public needs to see and hear all this anxious scrutiny, in a transparent way, with clear questions and clear answers. This is not happening.

The speaker needs to make the prime minister respond. For example, has Boris Johnson read the latest report on coronavirus by PMQs, which forecast a second spike and the recommendations for mitigation? I want to know that answer and, as a member of the public, am entitled to know that crucial answer, otherwise parliament is failing in its duty.

Stuart Wilkie
Kings Lynn, Norfolk

No care for carers

I read with great interest the details of the chancellor’s recent mini-budget. It certainly had some good and innovative ideas. This is, however, tinged with a great deal of disappointment that there has been no consideration given to the many carers in the UK.

I have cared for my disabled son for many years. Since lockdown, we have not been able to access respite or day services. He is severely autistic and epileptic. Becoming overheated can trigger a seizure and in addition to this our son is not able to grasp the concept of social distancing.

The effect of the lockdown has been a lot of anxiety and extra costs in trying to keep difficult behaviours to a minimum, not to mention a lot of extra work.

In stark contrast, the carers allowance is a very meagre sum. It is based on a minimum of 35 hours per week. (In reality, most carers invest considerably more hours than that, both day and night.)

The 2020-21 carers allowance is £67.25 per week. This works out at £1.92 per hour. If you work, you can’t earn more than £128 per week and the icing on the cake is that when you receive your state pension your carers allowance stops.

Statistically, there is a growing trend for carers to continue their role in their old age.

Come on Sunak and Johnson, please consider the amount we save the UK in residential care fees compared to the plight myself and other carers find themselves in.

Juliet N F Gregory
Address supplied

Wildlife appeal

Evgeny Lebedev’s report on the increase in wildlife slaughter during the pandemic, and the loss of income for wildlife protection agencies during the same period, was heartbreaking. Those of us who are absolutely devastated by the ongoing carnage inflicted on the natural world look on in horror and disbelief at the lack of world action to crack down hard on the markets for animal parts that drive this dreadful slaughter, which is literally destroying our planet’s ecosystem, as well as causing unspeakable agony for millions of animals.

A suggestion for one source of funding for protecting wildlife: our own fantastically wealthy royal family could make some amends for their past enthusiastic killing of animals such as tigers and elephants by donating chunks of their riches. I include a young “royal” couple in America who live in utter luxury, who could also donate some of their wealth, instead of constantly preaching to the rest of us while costing a fortune to be supported in the style to which they are accustomed.

A more realistic hope, if I may, is to ask The Independent to dedicate its Christmas fundraising appeal to help victims of the cruel wildlife trade, such as the poor bears trapped in pain, filth and misery in Asia’s bear bile hellholes, and also the dedicated agencies in the field who risk their own lives, in the face of global indifference, to try and protect the animals.

Penny Little
Great Haseley, Oxfordshire

Unpleasantly divisive

Catherine Lux’s article was the laziest piece of journalism I’ve had the misfortune to read in a long time. She took a few buzz words (eg. boomers, snowflakes, generation Z) and shoehorned a couple of behaviours into each category to suit her argument. The thoughtful approach is the opposite: what behaviours can I observe and which social cohorts – if, indeed, any – strongly display those behaviours? Rarely, if ever, is there such a broad generational sweep as she attempted to present. In fact, I found her article not just misguided but unpleasantly divisive.

Beryl Wall

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in