The Tories have got priorities all wrong – Bridget Phillipson MP

The Prime Minister may not have liked his first brush with Parliamentary scrutiny.

Friday, 30th August 2019, 9:34 am
Updated Monday, 16th September 2019, 6:58 pm
Boris Johnson making a statement in the House of Commons. Picture by PA

Even in these turbulent times, few expected such a calamitous start to Boris Johnson’s tenure as Prime Minister.

In a mess of his own making, he has suffered an unprecedented six defeats in Parliament in just six days.

But it is essential in our democracy that MPs are able to hold the government to account – especially as we try to find a way through the Brexit deadlock.

That’s why his decision to suspend, or “prorogue” Parliament until October 14 is so concerning.

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His motive is clear – he wants to evade scrutiny, shut down debate, and run down the clock on the road to a disastrous “No Deal” Brexit on October 31.

Shutting down Parliament is more evidence that Boris Johnson cannot be trusted – which is why MPs could not give him the benefit of the doubt when he asked for an election in October.

That have carried the real risk of the PM forcing the UK out of the EU without a deal against our wishes.

This would be catastrophic for local jobs, families and the NHS. There is the very real risk we would see shortages of vital medicines, and sharp rises in food prices.

This is worlds away from what was promised by Leave campaigners in 2016. Voters were repeatedly assured that Brexit would be overwhelmingly beneficial for the UK’s economy, our NHS, and our public services, and that we would leave the EU with a deal.

In order to avert the threat posed by a chaotic “No Deal”, MPs from all parties united to demand the Prime Minister request an extension to the Brexit deadline – and refused his request for an election.

While I desperately want to see an end to this Tory government, which has caused so much damage to our community – it simply would not have been responsible to allow an election while the risk of a “No Deal” Brexit looms large.

Now the PM’s Brexit strategy has been left in disarray, he will no doubt try to focus on the fantasy pledges we saw in last week’s spending review.

After almost a decade of Tory austerity that has left our public services in crisis, any new funding is to be welcomed. But these pledges are nowhere near enough to the reverse the harm caused by savage Tory cuts since 2010.

The government is happily spending billions preparing for a “No Deal” Brexit – funds which could be better used tackling the crisis in social care, or training new nurses, teachers and doctors.

It’s a question of priorities – and the last week shows that the Tories have got theirs all wrong.