Dark clouds gathered over the halls of Westminster last night as senior opposition leaders gathered to announce their joint motion for a Vote of No Confidence against the government. Now I will be the first to admit that clearly my party does not see eye to see with Labour on most policies but it is a testament to the missteps and failure of those in power when such rare cross-party support is thrown behind to unseat the government so early into their term.
The very beginning of the Clegg Coalition was shrouded in controversy as they had the Queen misled the House in her speech. It seemed that the new government position on prescription charges was clear stating their support for them and insisting the only alternatives were cuts to the NHS or raising taxes on those already most vulnerable. No sooner had they proclaimed it in their Queen’s Speech when political convenience kicked in and they flip-flopped on their stance. Now with their bill to repeal charges passing the House, what option will they be pursuing, cutting the NHS’s vital services or raising taxes on the sick and elderly? I am sure neither option is attractive.
However, one political issue is not enough to topple a government-the bigger concern is this government’s lack of accountability to the House and the public. Repeatedly, in questioning the government’s officials were more than happy to avoid questions they deemed too hard, of course, that is if they even bothered to show for them. Government ministers have shown distaste for any sort of scrutiny altogether by missing questioning time, perhaps by ducking into nearby pubs to avoid to avoid questions on various matter including the financial burden of their own prized pet project Ambercare. When a government cannot give clear answers on their key policies, that is a cause for concern. After being called out on such practices the government was happy to fire but the immediately reassign the offender to another cabinet position. They have turned the Commons and their own cabinet into a revolving door of negligence.
The final nail in the coffin was none other than the disastrous handling of JCPOA talks with the Iran by the Foreign Secretary Model-willem. It came as a shock to every member of the opposition when we had to learn from the BBC that so close to the deadline for talks over the Iran deal that the Iranians were frustrated that no talks had been attempted by the Foreign Department. An Urgent Question was rushed to the floor to understand why a matter of such importance had been seemingly neglected. Under fire by every member of the opposition, the government kept insisting that talks had been started prior to the BBC report, and they had nothing wrong.
When questioned again on what seemed at this point a clear lie, the Foreign Secretary refused to back down from his position, instead choosing to fire back accusing the LPUK of creating a crisis of their own making. Even after a plethora of criticism from myself and my fellow opposition MPs the goverment refusal to accept reality only continued to grow. Some Conservative MPs even jumped into the debate trying to save face by asking the Foreign Secretary to list his prior experience and insisting that the reason no talks had been started was that they didn’t want to rush them. This line of reasoning forgets that the little time left before the deadline meant any deal agreed to would be inherently rushed and Parliament would not have proper time to scrutinize it, but maybe that is exactly what the goverment wanted to once more avoid any and all scrutiny.
I am sure alarm bells are already ringing in the Conservative Party HQ, with the Prime Minister resigning even before the VONC has gone through, perhaps a sign that defeat has already been signaled. Whatever the result of vote my hope is that we can return to a functioning government that is not above taking criticism and can restore the confidence of the Commons and British public.
/u/ThreeCommasClub is the LPUK MP for Manchester North.