Jamie Wallis’ bravery should be an inspiration to us all
Heartfelt congratulations to Dr Jamie Wallis, Member of Parliament for Bridgend, and now an aspiring woman. In an emotional statement released via Twitter at 2:48am on Wednesday (arguably, two days too soon) Wallis confirmed himself –for ‘he’ remains his choice of pronoun– as the UK’s first transsexual MP.
Jamie Wallis hasn’t been in Parliament long, but has established himself already as a bit of a colourful character. Wallis, an ‘online entrepreneur’ and an avid Brexiter, ousted the admittedly useless Madeleine Moon from her safe Labour seat in 2019, to their mutual astonishment. Bridgend’s new MP spent the next few days frantically disembarrassing himself of links to his online entrepreneurship: specifically, he resigned from directorships of Fields Group Ltd, Rapid Data Recovery Ltd, Quickie Divorce Ltd, and several other similar enterprises.
Maybe he quit these posts out of the fashionable conviction that MPs should have no ‘second jobs’, and he wanted Bridgend to get the full benefit of every minute of his working time.
If so, it would be a favour returned because Bridgend –or at least the local authority’s trading standards department– has certainly spent a lot of its time on him. Fields Group entities (owned and run by Wallis and his dad) operating in the seedier banlieues of the legal system notched up 829 complaints to Bridgend Trading Standards between 2008 and 2017. In 2011, one of Wallis’ companies, an online employment claims business called Action Direct, was banned by the Ministry of Justice from taking on clients, and ordered to pull down all its websites and advertising.
f running an iffy claims farm named after a hard-left terror gang isn’t the route to riches, everyone knows there’s a bob or two to be made in selling sex. One of Wallis’ companies, SD Billing Services Ltd, registered the website sugar-daddy.net to do just that; putting young women who were hard up for cash in touch with sleazy old geezers who for one reason or another desired their company.
When Buzzfeed news started taking an interest in the Honourable Member for Bridgend and found out about this grubby enterprise, Wallis was quick to deny involvement: ‘For the avoidance of any doubt, I have never had a financial interest, nor been a director of SD Billing services Limited and cannot comment on its operational activities.’ This didn’t entirely tally with what SD Billing Services told Companies House, when in 2008 it reported that 100% of its shares were owned by a company called Fields Group Limited. Yes, the same one.
Apart from being director and co-owner of some very whiffy businesses, Wallis managed before becoming an MP to get himself kicked off Pencoed town council for non-attendance, and seems to be the absolute devil behind the wheel of a car. In August last year, he was fined £270 for veering over solid white lines on the A48; then on 28 November he wrapped his car round a Cowbridge lamp post in the wee small hours of the morning, then legged it.
What caused the crash? After reading Wallis’ early-morning outpourings (MPs do work hard), it seems to stem from trauma around his gender dysphoria, and two horrible recent experiences. ‘In September,” Wallis wrote, ‘I hooked up with someone who I met online and when I chose to say ‘no’ on the basis that he wouldn’t wear a condom he chose to rape me…I have not been myself since this incident and I don’t think I will ever recover.’ Another hook-up blackmailed him to the tune of fifty grand, and was deservedly sent to prison.
It all gave him PTSD, which puts wrecking the car and doing a runner in context. ‘I did so because I was terrified…I’m sorry that it appears I ‘ran away’ but this isn’t how it happened in the moment.’
Not privy to these deep-seated psychological scars, and of the persuasion that Wallis had in fact run away, an unempathetic rozzer nicked the Honourable Member. ‘A 37-year-old man from Cowbridge was arrested on suspicion of driving whilst unfit. He has been released under investigation.’
We don’t know what Jamie Wallis’ wife thinks about his hooking up with random rapists and blackmailers. Sensibly, she’s chosen to say nothing, and if you can’t say anything nice about someone, it’s best to say nothing at all. But politicians aren’t very good at keeping quiet, so when Wallis made his emotionally incontinent, self-exculpatory statement they all said something nice.
‘Dear Jamie,’ fawned Labour MP Chris Bryant, ‘I wish you all the very best. Colleagues across the House will respect your openness, honesty and the journey you are on. Cwtch.’
Other encomia lauded Wallis’ bravery; apparently with sincerity and not employing the Yes Minister definition of ‘brave’, as in ‘stark, staring mad’. Plaid Cymru MP Liz Savile-Roberts, who has recently done some pretty brave things with her hair, observed that it was an extraordinarily brave message: ‘Great respect for your personal courage.’ Andrew RT Davies agreed: ‘A very brave statement, Jamie. The Welsh Conservative family are always here for you.’
Brave or not, turning into a woman may be the best thing the MP for Bridgend could do. Preferably that woman would be Suzy Davies, the excellent former Tory Senedd member who was overlooked for the Bridgend seat in Wallis’ favour. Instead, residents along the Ogmore got a bang up-to-date Baxter Basics as their MP; one of the ropiest people to get elected to Parliament since Neil Hamilton was hounded out in shame.
Jamie Wallis may be rackety, unfaithful, an unreliable witness and an awful driver, but he’s no fool. He’s realised that the key to self-preservation is victimhood. Plus, being trans gets you a ready-made army of fanatical friends.
And as for Boris Johnson (who after joking about transsexuals at a dinner on Tuesday joined in praising Wallis’ bravery the next day), he’s delighted. After all, having Britain’s first trans MP is much more interesting than everyone banging on about who at No. 10 Downing St stuffed their faces with lockdown-busting cake.
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