E-cigarettes and defence policy: A sit down with markthemonkey888

Markthemonkey888 is the constituency Member of Parliament for Black Country – the Westmidlands county synonymous with the industrial revolution. I met the veteran parliamentarian in a London bar known to be a favourite amongst the Libertarian caucus. Quiet, on a Monday afternoon, we discussed his career, both recent and past, and the political goings-on of the day over a glass of single malt.

Good evening. For the uninitiated, would you care to summarise your political career in as brief a manner as possible?

My name is Markthemonkey888, the current Member of Parliament for Black Country. I am currently the Defence Spokesperson for the LPUK, I’ve served in cabinet under the Tories in both DEFRA and Business and Innovation, and worked times in both whip offices.

Firstly allow me to ask about some of your most recent legislation. What is the motivation behind the E-Cigarette Control and Regulation Bill and do you expect it to recieve cross party support?

The first reason was a personal reason, I did quite a bit of reading into e-cigs a while back while using it to quit my nicotine addiction and found that it is severely under regulated and has minimum government control. It needs to be brought under control, especially when it concerns our youth. I’ve seen many kids in my constituency addicted to nicotine thanks to fruit flavoured vapes, a device meant to help adult smokers quit, is now helping our kids get addicted to nicotine. Since production, import, advertisement and sales of e-cigarette is not limited or regulated under the ​Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Act of 2002, any company can abuse this and mass market e-cigs to our children and the general public.

I believe that the Bill is quite common sense and I should think that this is an important enough issue to receive support across the house. I would take a quick second to thank my friend LeChevalierMal-Fait who helped me with the legal and technical aspects of this Bill.

The Veterans Affairs Motion was read before the House of Commons yesterday. As its author do you believe the abolition of the Minister of State for Veterans Affairs is an indictment for the neglect of veterans? What would you see the government do to support former service personnel?

YES! Absolutely yes. I cannot state how important the office of veterans affairs was especially to me, helping me transition from military to civilian life. I believe that the Government [is] making a big mistake by abolishing the office. I also find it deeply troubling and disappointing that the comments made by the Secretary of State for Transport, who called the Office of Veterans affairs a “bloated” office. I am deeply saddened to see such language being used to describe the office which takes care of our veterans and I will be sending a letter to the cabinet office with my complaints.

I think the Tories need to reverse their decision on this matter immediately. I am also disappointed to see no new funding or innovation when it comes to this year’s budget for our veterans, as someone who has written the Defence and Veterans section of the Tory election manifesto before, this is deeply disappointing. I believe additional funding and resources should be allocated to the office.

You’ve long had a hand in defence policy. Do you believe the modern Armed Forces are fit for purpose? What reforms do you believe are necessary?

I think our army organization and structure is due for an update, we are due for army reforms this year anyways, so I will reserve my views until the government whitepaper.

I believe our armed forces are long due for an upgrade, the government hasn’t mentioned anything about a Defence review or a National Threat assessment that was due this term. I think we just need more of everything in order to keep up with today’s world. I believe a large investment in our armed forces needs to take place in order for us to be competitive again. We also need to upgrade and increase our global presence. We’ve already opened up a base east of Suez, but I think we need to take advantage of our other global facilities.

During your career you have found yourself in more than a single party, once an active member of the Conservative Party. How do you view your former party and its leader today?

Many are aware of my personal animosity and disagreements with the Prime Minister, but however I have no animosity towards most members of my former party, especially members like eelsmaj99 who I still look up to as someone who helped me and mentored me in my early days. I do however disagree with it’s leadership and its decisions. I no longer agree with the path which the Tories are traveling down. I believe they have lost their way.

As you have been and are a member of both the Conservative Party and the Libertarian Party you have an understanding of both. Are you confident both parties can reconcile in the near future? Would you support a return of Blurple?

I don’t think so. Not in it’s current state anyhow. The tories would need to drastically change their stance and leadership. I believe the Conservative – Classical Liberal merger has killed that possibility for the near future.

Okay thank you for your time. Is there anything else you want to mention?

I join my friends and colleagues in the house in calling for the resignation of the Foreign Secretary in light of recent events.

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