At the beginning of the afternoon, the sky of Clermont (Oise) has turned gray, a fine rain is brought by the wind. The weather is gloomy, like the news. No sooner have we taken a few steps towards his parliamentary office when we see Maxime Minot waving to us through the window.
The door opens, this young deputy (LR) from Oise welcomes us dressed in a black three-piece suit. A dress style that he accompanies by expressions a bit outdated. In his company, the atmosphere seems, in a way, to mellow. “I talk to people as I talk to my family, that’s what makes my strength,” says the politician.
At 33, Maxime Minot cultivates a naturalness that he intends to preserve. “This life, it can uproot you and make you become a politician above ground, who will be present everywhere in all the media. It may tear you away from your family cocoon, but my relatives remind me of where I come from. “
His roots are Etouy. He completed his schooling in this town of 800 inhabitants, “until college”, before becoming mayor in 2014, at the age of 26. Besides, he still lives in the small town, “within range of arguments” from his constituents.
A few tens of kilometers further, in Beauvais, another member of the Oise, Agnès Thill, has only just returned from Paris. Like many of her counterparts, her week is punctuated by back and forth trips by car between her offices in the Oise, where she resides, and her parliamentary activity in the hemicycle.
Agnès Thill returns her PS card in 1990
To hear her tell her story, one has the impression that this former school principal arrived a little by chance at the National Assembly. Younger, she was yet included in the Socialist Party (PS). “I was 18 when François Mitterrand came to power, you could feel the jubilation in the street and I wanted to go to the Bastille”, she recalls. But Agnès Thill ended up returning her PS card after the Rennes congress in 1990: too much “violence”, too much “division”.
After this experience, “it was out of the question for me to hear about politics”. Agnès Thill leaves Ile-de-France for Oise. The years go by. After the creation of the movement En Marche! by Emmanuel Macron in the summer of 2016, she hesitates, procrastinates, hesitates again… Then ends up sending her candidacy for the legislative elections, after a long weekend of reflection.
“I wasn’t hoping for anything at all,” she says. I had my life, with my daughter and my job, I didn’t believe it at all. »At the beginning of 2017, she became the candidate of En Marche! legislative elections scheduled for June. Everything is accelerating. “There, we do not think further, we say to ourselves that it is gone. So I went all the way. “At that time, Agnès Thill did not know it yet, but her political destiny would echo that of another politician from the Oise… Maxime Minot.
Thrown “into the lion’s den”
These two created a surprise during the legislative elections in 2017 in the department. Unknown to the general public, Agnès Thill could only count on her LREM label to end the reign of Jean-François Mancel (LR) who had reigned over the second constituency for several decades. “At the beginning, I didn’t have anyone around me, I didn’t even know that a campaign manager was needed,” blows the former teacher.
For his part, Maxime Minot had the heavy responsibility of keeping the constituency on the right after Edouard Courtial, currently senator (LR), chose to give up standing for the seventh constituency of the department.
Against all odds, both won the election. But the difficulties begin. Over the course of positions taken against their political camps, the air will become scarce around the two deputies.
Once entered the National Assembly, Maxime Minot first reports this impression of having been thrown “into the lion’s den”. “I was completely lost at the start. I knew we had to lay down the law, but I didn’t know what the terms were amendment, concept of rejection … All these things, ”he admits. Before adding, with a smile: “It took me four good months to find my way around the building. It’s still a mini-city, it confuses a man. “
To find a place on the benches of the hemicycle, the politician had to learn to elbow. “When you arrive from a rural town, you are a bit of the country man who arrives, even if Etouy is an hour from Paris, he summarizes. In order for little Minot to be noticed, I had to get my teeth out, without having done the ENA, without having done Sciences-po. “
The “fangs”, he will have to show them from the start of discussions on the bioethics law, which provides for the opening of medically assisted procreation (PMA) to single women and female couples. Political logic would have wanted Agnès Thill to be a defender of this law carried by the majority, his candidate’s campaign promise, and that Maxime Minot fiercely opposed it. But it was without counting on their deep convictions. Quite the opposite has happened.
On September 24, 2019, Maxime Minot climbed to the platform of the National Assembly to publicly assume his support for the bill. “With all due respect to the defenders of the equation according to which a child equals a dad plus a mother, it turns out that the family is no longer a patriarchal social institution”, he declared, to the applause of MPs from rebellious France and La République en Marche. “I refuse to be locked into a right in particular,” adds the deputy, falling into disagreement with his political family.
Maxime Minot between insults and death threats
In his duty office, he is still going over this difficult period today. “I took a lot, I really took a lot. I received insults, death threats on social networks, I had letters in my mailbox in Etouy. It was a difficult moment for me, I really realized that there was a danger. “
Of course, the politician could have voted “for” in his corner, without anyone noticing. But it sounded like “obvious” to fight for the opening of the PMA. “I told myself that I had a role to play,” he confides. And to explain: “Already, during the debates of the Manif for all, I was ashamed. I was not yet mayor, but when I saw people from my political family wearing the tricolor scarf during the demonstrations, I was nauseous. It does not take away any rights from anyone, I cannot understand how we can be against it. PMA is the same. “
Only a few weeks ago, Maxime Minot stood out again for having defended the extension from 12 to 14 weeks of the legal deadline for abortion. “I have friends who had to have an abortion but waited because they didn’t dare tell their family, it’s not possible. Only two Republican deputies voted for this bill.
“He has the right to express himself”
And that’s not all, because the man is also campaigning for an “evolution of the right to die with dignity”. “I don’t want another Lambert affair,” he asserts, named after this former nurse in a vegetative state whose family was torn apart around the end of treatment.
For his political camp, his opposing positions are not a subject. On the contrary, we praise a “total freedom of expression” for parliamentarians within the Republicans, assures Eric Woerth, deputy and head of the party in the Oise. “It’s always courageous not to follow the pack, not to follow the collective movement,” continues the former minister. And Maxime did it without aggressiveness or unnecessary controversy. It is not the majority position of his group, it is not mine, but he has the right to express them. Implied: among the Republicans, there is room for debate. A snub to the majority group?
Because it is quite the opposite that Agnès Thill experienced. On June 27, 2019, she stormed out of the hemicycle, in shock. This Thursday marks the end of a long period of disgrace. The conflict commission of La République en Marche has just excluded it from the movement.
“I learned about it from the press when I received a notification on my cell phone, I didn’t expect it at all,” she recalls. They kicked me out for 20 tweets asking questions. ” The reality is more complex.
Fiercely opposed to the opening of the assisted reproduction to female couples and singles, the member notably mentions the existence of a “powerful LGBT lobby in the National Assembly” on the social network. A formulation that leaps into his own camp and precipitates his exclusion.
The chosen one tells everything in her book “You are not one of us”
“She was looping over it. She had fallen into excess and nothing could be said to her, estimates Pascal Bois, LREM deputy. In fact, she is drawn to the light. Today she made a 180 degree turn and showed a spirit of revenge. “
From this “banishment” in her own words, Agnès Thill retains a sharp bitterness, which she recounts in her book published at the end of September, “Tu n’es pas des nôtres”. “They gag us and see us if we dare to express ourselves in a different way,” she insists even today. And the deputy sparks the “insults”, the looks that turn away in her path and the “hello” that does not arrive. “It was a political death, but also a social and professional death. “
Excluded from La République en Marche, she joined the fourteen deputies without a label. “When you’re unregistered, it’s as if you don’t exist. As we no longer have a group president to give us the information, we have to go fishing for everything, we must monitor what happens in the Council of Ministers. You learn to fend for yourself, ”reports Agnès Thill.
If she now sits alongside the centrists, she does not belong to this parliamentary group. “We do not want her at the UDI because we do not share the same values”, insists Daniel Leca (UDI), regional vice-president of the party.
One is isolated, the other in the spotlight
When Agnès Thill seems more and more isolated politically, the “little Minot” is one of the most prominent deputies in the Oise. In his office at the Assembly is framed his portrait published in the newspaper “Liberation”. “For a right-wing MP, it’s something anyway,” he smiles.
Beside, a snapshot with Nicolas Sarkozy. We can no longer count his interventions in the press, where he has been nicknamed “the Republican Insubordinate”. He philosophizes: “I became the guy on the right on sovereign subjects and on the left on societal subjects, I laughed now. “
A duality which he has made his trademark, even if it means blurring the political boundaries, as evidenced by the “calls of the foot” of the former house of Agnès Thill. “Until recently, during the debates on abortion, some LREMs told me: It’s really time you came to our place. But I resist. “
Original article by : www.leparisien.fr