Peter Lilley stands down… and green campaigners say he won't be missed
The Tory veteran is on his way out – 24 years after his famous ‘little list’ speech.
Two of the five Conservative MPs who voted against the Climate Change Act are quitting the Commons ahead of this year’s general election.
Back in 2008, the only MPs to vote against the Bill to introduce the Climate Change Act were Anne Widdecombe, Andrew Tyrie, Perter Lilley, Christopher Chope and Philip Davies.
Widdecombe stood down in 2010. And now Tyrie and Lilley have announced that they too are off, prompting celebratory noises from Friends of The Earth.
"Climate change is the challenge of our generation. The irritating old guard who blocked it, fought it, questioned it, and tried to deny it have lost," a spokesman told TP in response to the news.
"The arena is clear and open for progressives who get the problem in a practical and political sense, won’t waste time on ideological posturing, and will crack on with the solution."
Treasury select committee chair Tyrie surprised many colleagues this week by announcing that that he is standing down. During his six years as committee chair, Tyrie clashed with David Cameron, George Osborne, Mark Carney, Lord Chilcott and countless City bankers. His departure means that Westminster is to lose one its most feared interrogators.
Lilley announced his departure this morning. After he spoke at Prime Minister’s Questions, Theresa May thanked the former cabinet minister for the "tremendous contribution" he had made in the House.
But Lilley is best known by many political observers for an unusual speech he gave to the Tory conference in 1992 when he was social security secretary.
In one passage that has not aged well, he hit out at recipients of state benefits via a parody of the Lord High Executioner's 'Little List' song from Gilbert and Sullivan's Mikado.
He said: "I've got a little list / Of benefit offenders who I'll soon be rooting out / And who never would be missed / They never would be missed."
Lilley trained his fire at “young ladies who get pregnant just to jump the housing queue", "dads who won't support the kids of the ladies they have kissed” and "sponging socialists". He concluded: "I've got them on my list / And there's none of them be missed / There's none of them be missed."
While the speech was well received in the hall, Lilley’s ‘little list’ now jars with a generation of compassionate Conservatives who are singing from a different songsheet.
Chope and Davies have confirmed that they are standing again in June’s general election. Davies is seen as an arch anti-feminist and is being challenged for his seat of Shipley by Sophie Walker, the leader of the Women's Equality Party.