Diary - fellow Guardsman killed by an elephant

A cold, rainy morning as I set off for the Commons. The morning passed routinely enough and then it was down to the Chamber for PMQs. For the first time, I saw that many MPs on our side were not in their places. A text went out from the Whips' office summoning MPs to the Chamber just before PMQs began, so it wasn't just my imagination. I managed to catch the Speaker's eye and asked why the new Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt had two jobs. Surely one was enough, especially one so important and prestigious. I got a wishy-washy answer from the PM. I also used the opportunity to send my congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and to send my sympathy to the family and friends of Guardsman Matthew Talbot, a fellow Coldstreamer, who was killed by an elephant while working on anti-poaching duties. My colleague Andrea Jenkyns then stirred the pot by demanding that Mrs May goes and goes now. It was extraordinary how muted our Benches were. But we live in dangerous times for our country and Party. Lack of leadership, and what many would say is betrayal over Brexit, is making a Corbyn government more likely, not less. And clearly the voters do not believe a word we say, if the local election results are to be believed, and they must be. I then sat in on an Urgent Question asked by my colleague John Barren about the Iranian nuclear deal and the escalation of tension in the Middle East due to US sanctions, Mr Trump having withdrawn from the deal. I was a little amazed at some colleagues, who appeared to be keen to appease Iran's extreme element by wishing to cave into demands for more time. Clearly, the US pulled out of the deal for a reason. No one wants nuclear proliferation, so there must have been a good reason for doing so. I asked the minister what that was, and whether our Government agreed with it, to be told this was all classified. There were murmurings about Mr Obama's time in office, and that was it. Then off to my weekly European Scrutiny Committee, which was held in private. The House appears paralysed, everyone waiting to see if Mrs May will unwisely use Labour votes to get her dreadful Withdrawal Agreement through. I hope she does not.