The Curious Case Of A Tory MP's Campaign To Get A Fish And Chip Shop Opened

Conservative MP Steve Tuckwell
Conservative MP Steve TuckwellJUSTIN TALLIS via Getty Images

A Tory MP has launched a “weird” campaign to get a fish and chip shop opened.

Uxbridge and South Ruislip MP Steve Tuckwell posted a video on X indicating his concern that there was no fish and chip shop in Uxbridge town centre – despite acknowledging the existence of two others nearb.

The Mirror reported there appears to be 10 fish and chip shops in the Uxbridge area.

The plea raised eyebrows on the social media network. Why was a politician from the free enterprise-supporting Conservative Party interfering with the market? Are there not bigger issues to be championing during a cost-of-living crisis? What is he campaigning to change, given there’s no legal pathway to enforce the opening of a takeaway food outlet?

Labour’s parliamentary candidate Danny Beales responded: “Maybe try to save the library first? You couldn’t make it up. Tory MP supports the closure of libraries, nurseries and youth centres. But campaigns for an extra fish and chip shop. Uxbridge and South Ruislip deserves so much better.”

Some claimed the campaign was effectively a device to get voters to sign up to the MP’s mailing list. A petition page link posted by Tuckwell suggests people can show support by signing up with their name, email address and postcode, and a tick box alongside it reads: “I agree to Steve Tuckwell using the contact information I provide to keep me updated via email and telephone on this and other issues until further notice.”

On X, food critic Jay Rayner argued the “proper weird” campaign was “just a data scraping exercise”, while others claimed Tuckwell opposed the opening of a fish and chip shop in 2019 in his role as a local councillor.

Minutes from a Hillingdon Council meeting on June 4, 2019, state Tuckwell attended a planning committee meeting where it was “unanimously agreed” to reject a planning application for “hot food takeaway” on Windsor Street.

The minutes state: “Members expressed concern regarding the visibility of the external duct and the fact that it would be sited in close proximity to an existing first floor window; this raised concerns regarding the potential for noise and smell.”

The Tories narrowly retained, Uxbridge and South Ruislip, Boris Johnson’s former seat, following a bitter by-election campaign in July, with Tuckwell beating Beales by just 495 votes to become the new MP.

The Conservatives effectively turned the by-election into a referendum on Labour mayor Sadiq Khan’s decision to expand London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).