IT’S NOT often that you will hear loud praise for a Labour MP on The Conservative Woman, but Kate Hoey, member for Vauxhall in inner London, deserves it. Not least because you’ll see her described on Corbynite social media as a vile Tory. Anybody who can upset Corbynistas that much deserves our congratulations.
For full disclosure, I’ve been a Hoey fan ever since the early 1990s when I was an activist and petty official in her constituency Labour Party. (Not that she would remember me.) She was popular among the members and was widely seen as a good MP, committed and hard-working. Not any more. Her outspoken support for Brexit and willingness to work with Brexiteer Tories means she is now condemned as a traitor. She faces near-universal disapproval from her local party, many of whom are itching to deselect her, but so far Hoey won’t be shifted.
She is one of that dwindling number of independently minded MPs who follow their consciences more than the expectations of others. Her old role with the Countryside Alliance and some of her positions over the years, such as her dissident views on gun control, have often looked out of place in Labour, but that’s Hoey for you.
Although never a barnstormer or obvious crowd-puller, she is an excellent communicator. If you want to see Brexit arguments put with clarity, force and simple common sense, watch Hoey’s Leave Means Leave rally speech here. She is brilliant.
In the face of the EU’s over-complicating of the issues around our simply expressed democratic choice to leave, Hoey reminds us that leave voters are the majority, not extremists. And in an age where patriotism is often sneered at, Hoey is completely unashamed of her own. Understanding that there is no contradiction between loving your country and believing, to use her words, in ‘true internationalism’, a respect and willingness to engage with the rest of the world. That countries can be friends, partners and good neighbours without being shoved into the EU’s imperial straitjacket. She is also admirably clear about the EU’s ruthlessness and cynicism in its dealings with us, the rebellious vassal.
At the risk of sounding too smitten, Hoey combines warmth and charm with strength and moral force. It’s a long time since I swore that I would never vote Labour again, and there are certainly positions she has taken I might disagree with, but I would choose Kate Hoey over our abysmal Prime Minister any day.