Tele column 29th March 2019

In nearly four years at Westminster I have heard a lot of things said that could be described as factually incorrect, fatuous nonsense, egotistical ramblings, misleading mutterings or simply inappropriate chat but this week the Prime Minister’s latest pontifications takes the biscuit. Theresa May said “I cannot commit the Government to delivering the outcome of any votes held by this House.” She made the comment as part of her statement on the European Council Summit and she said it because she knew that a cross party amendment was going to be voted on which would take control of the E.U. withdrawal agenda from the UK Government and would give that control to the MPs. We now have a Prime Minister that doesn’t control her own party or her own government and she doesn’t command the confidence of the House of Commons. She even managed to lose three more ministers in the process. The outcome was that on Wednesday eight amendments were voted on. These were indicative votes designed to better inform the house how a consensus could be agreed. The crushing irony that emerged was that the Prime Minister said, in an attempt to curry favour, she would stand down after her deal got through and therefore trigger a leadership race. But her deal did not get any closer to passing after eight indicative votes were voted down. The only indication we got was that Westminster is in complete disarray. A lot of House business is dictated by and arranged with what is known as ‘the usual sources’. That encompasses whips offices, Speaker’s office and government departments. Last week, that process broke down. Nothing is being scheduled and therefore members can’t be allocated to debates and diaries as well as chamber business is chaotic. My Friday should be in my constituency talking to organisations, companies and individuals. As of half past midnight on the morning of Thursday the 28th, as I write this, I have no idea what business is like for today or Friday. If Friday becomes a sitting day I shall have to cancel all my Friday appointments at a great deal of inconvenience to everyone. This is no way to run a government or parliament. It’s time to man the lifeboats as Westminster weighed down by its own incompetence sinks in the depths of Brexit.

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