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Motion of No Confidence in Her Majesty's Government
Mr Speaker, I beg leave to introduce the following motion:
That this House has no confidence in Her Majesty's Government
Mr Speaker the last year and a half have been an abject disaster for this country. From double crossing pensioners to stabbing two Prime Ministers in the back in as many months, no part of this Government bears any resemblance to the one that the British people voted for in April last year. It is time to put the decision back to the British people.
The last transition of power was farcical. Ariadne Suchet was repeatedly stabbed in the back by many on the other side of the House to the point where she was more political pincushion than political leader. Her resignation should have prompted a General Election, the fact that it did not allowed a cabal of 280 Labour MPs, a handful of Trades Unions, and a tiny fraction of the general electorate to give us a leader and a Prime Minister completely unfit to hold the position he did. In his first engagement at Prime Minister's Questions he executed the single fastest u-turn in modern British political history, one minute he was pro-grammar schools and within 120 seconds he was against them. In our engagements he outlined how he planned to outsource the vetting of incoming refugees to the United Nations rather than ensure that we would have the final say on who could and could not enter this country, a frankly appalling plan that simply cannot be allowed to stand and outlined how disastrously wrong the Government got the call on who should become our next Prime Minister.
The country are fed up Mr Speaker, they are fed up of being governed by incompetence, they are fed up of being double-crossed, and they are fed up of being governed by a Prime Minister they did not vote for. The Labour Party will no doubt take some time to establish their next leader, whether by coronation or by selection the key thing is that there will be no election. One Prime Minister not elected by the country is a failure, two is a scandal and an outrage. We have seen what governing by selectorate will do with this Prime Minister, the country cannot afford a repeat performance. I urge every party in this chamber, every single individual MP, to consider carefully the message that a second unelected Prime Minister would send to the country and the damage that a second untested Prime Minister could do. We need an election to re-establish our mandates, we need an election so that the country can choose who governs Britain, and we need an election to protect the country from incompetence. I urge every single member to support this motion today.
Mr Speaker as this is an Opposition Day I beg time be allocated to this debate and division.
Conservative MP for North East Bedfordshire
Leader of the Opposition (2014-16)
Prime Minister (2014)
Parliamentary Experience: Novice (25)
Media Experience: Experienced (62)
Policy Experience: Novice (29)
I thank the Rt Hon Leader of the Opposition for submitting this motion today. Surely it is the job of the opposition to hold the government of the day to account and this is no exception.
I will not lie - I am disappointed in the manner in which Government, over the past few days, operated. I think the whole of Britain is. However, on the balance, I know that the coalition between Labour and the Liberal Democrats is better for Britain than any government led by the Leader of the Opposition would be. I know that the policies pursued by the Coalition will be more tilted towards justice, towards fairness, towards opportunity for each and every Briton than the policies pursued by the Conservative Party.
Mr Speaker, the dysfunction of recent days is not solely a symptom of the Labour Party. No. It is a symptom of a political system that was broken the day the former Prime Minister, Mr Cameron, resigned in 2013. Since then two members of the Conservative Party served as Prime Minister - neither of whom served as Prime Minister after winning an election. And two members of the Labour Party served as Prime Minister - one of whom won an election. That record, a record that tars both parties, is a disgrace. And that must change. I have every confidence that it will change.
It is that belief that leads me to have confidence in Her Majesty’s Government - even as the Conservative Party seeks to exploit a time of weakness for their own electoral benefit.
Of course, Mr Speaker, this should also be debate about hypocrisy - including the blatant hypocrisy of the Rt Hon Leader of the Opposition.
The Rt Hon Leader of the Opposition, in his statement, is adamant that one unelected Prime Minister is a failure. However, Mr Speaker, I don’t recall him calling for an election when Mrs Cambel took office two years ago. Of course she was a Conservative - perhaps party affiliation could explain his silence? I don’t mean to be cynical, Mr Speaker, but one can’t help but wonder?
But moving on from the idea that one unelected Prime Minister is a failure, let us address the notion that a second is “a scandal and an outrage”, as the Rt Hon Leader of the Opposition so pithily put it. Mr Speaker, I remember when the Rt Hon Leader of the Opposition was elected Leader of the Conservative Party. He went to Buckingham Palace, met with Her Majesty, and then formed as a government as the second unelected Conservative Prime Minister in a three month period. When a motion of confidence was tabled, he declared his intent to “fight this motion with every fiber of [his] being”. He declared his intent to continue on as an unelected Prime Minister, to form a Government with a working majority in the Commons. Oh dear, Mr Speaker - times do seem to have changed.
Of course, perhaps things changed because he failed to form a working majority. He failed to gain the support of the House of Commons. And he existed on the verge of being removed from office by a vote of no confidence. A vote that he said he would fight. He failed to lead a Government as Prime Minister the first time and now he wants a second bite at the apple because he’s polling better!
Mr Speaker, this is not a vote about the country being fed up or about renewing mandates - this is about the political opportunism of the Leader of the Opposition and his Conservative Party. They did not want an election when their polling was in the gutter and they just chose the second unelected Conservative Prime Minister. But now that their polling is quite good, the idea of an unelected Labour Prime Minister is an affront to democracy. Mr Speaker, it’s quite telling that you only hear cries of democracy from the opposition benches when it stands to benefit them! It appears that the Rt Hon Leader of the Opposition will only call something an affront to democracy if he’s not the one in charge.
So, Mr Speaker, I challenge the Rt Hon Leader of the Opposition today. Does he believe that his attempts to hold power after becoming the second unelected Conservative Prime Minister were “a scandal and an outrage” as he so succinctly put it? Will he admit that, given his record in office and blatant pursuit of power, this motion is nothing but political opportunism? Will he agree that, per the British constitution, so long as an individual retains the confidence of the House that they can remain in office - as he tried so hard to do not so long ago?
The Conservative Party wants power, Mr Speaker. That is clear. They want the power to raise taxes on our hard working GPs and doctors in the National Health Service. They want the power to gamble with our economic prosperity and future with a poorly thought out EU referendum. They want the power to weaken our institutions and make life more difficult for those most in need of a hand up in society. And they are willing to run roughshod over the constitution to achieve it. They are willing to forget the history of their last term in office. We cannot let that happen. We will not let that happen.
I call upon this House to remember the actions - not just the words - of the Rt Hon Leader of the Opposition the last time he tried desperately to cling to power. I call upon this House to acknowledge that the policies pursued by this Coalition government are far better for the people of Britain than the policies that the Rt Hon Leader of the Opposition seeks to pursue. I call upon this House to acknowledge that blatant acts of political opportunism and hypocrisy put before us today.
Mr Speaker, I call upon this House to declare that it has confidence in Her Majesty’s Government and defeat this motion!
MP for Hammersmith
Parliamentary: Unknown (13)
Media: Unknown (17)
Policy: Unknown (18)
Mr.Speaker, I want to make a few things clear and reflect on this tumultuous period. Suchet’s resignation, Ward’s election, the PMQs and his resignation. First of all, Ari Suchet gave a speech to the PLP, in which she talked about her record, accomplishments and reasons to resign but she also made it explicitly clear that she was harmed by the leaks to the Conservative Party and to Dylan Macmillan. These were leaks about Labour Party’s internal business as well as the cabinet works, this was both unethical and potentially illegal. We are talking about potentially sensitive information leaked, she made it clear these leaks did happen but she had no idea who leaked them, it seemed like she pointed fingers to her successor, I chose not to vote for this successor. I was open to work with him because these allegations were indeed serious but there was also this fact, even Ari Suchet admitted she had no evidence about who these leakers are. So I was and Labour Party was ready to work with Calvin Ward.
And then the Prime Minister’s Questions arrived, that is when things started to go very sour, sure Ward’s performance was underwhelming but it is not what made me concerned the most, bad performances can be improved along the way. What made me concerned the most was not even came out of Ward’s mouth, it was from Leader of the Opposition “The Prime Minister was the source of most of those leaks. And the source of most of the cajolling, plotting, scheming, and nefarious under the table dealing.” With this sentence, we have found out for sure that Calvin Ward leaked Labour insider information and government knowledge to the Leader of the Opposition and the Conservative Party. Make no mistake, Mr.Speaker, this has widespread implications and importance. We are talking about unethical actions for sure but also potentially illegal actions too. Mr. Ward did the honourable thing and chose to resign. Mr.Speaker, I call the Leader of the Opposition to do the same honourable action and resign.
Mr.Speaker, I also want to make sure that there will be an independent inquiry into these leaks, who did they reached and what was the content of these leaks. Leader of the Opposition was outraged when Mary Cambel leaked false information to the BBC, and I am pretty sure he would have been outraged if official government business was leaked to the opposition and to the media in an unethical and potentially illegal way if he wasn’t the recipient of this information. Mr.Speaker, what we are seeing here is hypocrisy at its worst. Unethical actions, potentially illegal actions have been committed and look at what we are debating about, Conservative Party’s ambitions to become a government. This is truly a shameless move of them and a shameful moment for our parliament. Leader of the Opposition must resign.
Sylviane Jaubert MP
MP for Cynon Valley
Formerly as The Rt Hon Ariadne "Ari" Suchet MP
Former Prime Minister and Leader of the Labour Party
"TrashPotato Today at 2:11 AM
my friend offered me a bottle of vodka and i sucked the vodka out the bottle like a baby sucking a titty"
I commend the Leader of the Opposition for putting this motion before the House. Now more than ever this country is in desperate need for a change in leadership, and this motion gets us one step closer to that goal.
Before I begin, I would like to briefly respond to a comment made by a Member opposite, the Member of Parliament for Hammersmith. She alleges that the Opposition is "exploiting a time of weakness," by calling this Vote of No Confidence. While we may disagree over why this vote is being called, I am happy to see that we are in total agreement about one thing: this Government is weakness epitomized. They have not a experienced a "time" of weakness, it has been a series of weak decisions, weak actions, and weak planning. The MP for Hammersmith is absolutely right, the Government she continues to support is weak. Britain deserves better.
That being said, Mr. Speaker, my message today will be brief. Everyone in this House knows where I stand on this matter: as I have said before, and as I will continue to say until an election is called, the Coalition Government has run its course and it is time they step aside.
So rather than drone on about matters I have already discussed, I will simply say this: there is one person in the House of Commons today with the ability to bring this national tragedy to an end, and that is the Deputy Prime Minister. He and he alone has the ability, and I pray the courage, to bring to an end the damage this Government is doing to Britain.
The Deputy Prime Minister and I have a long list of policy disagreements, but that has never prevented me from respecting him as a statements and a true public servant of the British people. He is a good politician, an admirable parliamentarian. There's no need for a celebrated career of public service to be tarnished by a decision to prop up a Government that is bound to fail. He has done what he could to keep the Coalition afloat, but no man however skilled he is could save this sinking ship. Ari Suchet couldn't do it, Calvin Ward certainly couldn't do it, and the Deputy Prime Minister shouldn't have to pay the price for their failings.
The Coalition is too dysfunctional and disorganized to govern effectively, and there no longer remains any hope that they'll have the power or legitimacy to implement policy. There is no reason, political or otherwise, to try to save this Government. Those who do will pay the price at the ballot box.
I implore him, as I implore all Liberal Democrat and even Labour MPs who seek to place country over party, withdraw your support from a Government that has made the United Kingdom the laughing stock of the world. As the Member for Hammersmith has so eloquently pointed out, this Coalition is too weak to keep going, and it's time we act to end it and put Britain out of its misery.
The writing is on the wall, and it's clear that this Government's last days are near. The choice before the Deputy Prime Minister, and for everyone sitting on the Government benches is clear. Will you stand by this failing Coalition just to steal yourself a little more time on the Government benches, or will you do right by the British people and give them the chance to decide who they want to lead our country forward?
Member of Parliament for Bracknell
Shadow Foreign Secretary
Chairman of the Conservative Party
Chief Whip of the Conservative party
I rise to oppose this Motion in the strongest terms. I do so with the full awareness that I have just resigned from the Government. It is clear, however, that an election is unwarranted – and the Conservatives actions are unprincipled, opportunistic, and misleading.
The Leader of the Opposition said “we need an election to re-establish our mandates”. He argues that a new Prime Minister requires each Member of Parliament to go to the voters because each of us lose our mandate to sit here – and vote – when the head of the Government changes. Except my mandate to represent Hull North does not come from the Prime Minister; the Leader of the Opposition’s mandate to represent North East Bedfordshire does not come from the Prime Minister; and, the Deputy Prime Minister’s mandate to represent Sutton and Cheam does not come from the Prime Minister. Each of us, all of us, are in this Parliament – have our mandate – from the voters, not from the Prime Minister. A change in our Prime Minister does not affect our individual mandate to represent our constituencies, and does not necessitate an election. The voters elect their MPs, not a Prime Minister. Conservatives used to understand and cherish the constitution, now they trample on it in a desperate attempt to grasp power.
But let us be clear what the alternative is: a flip-flopping Tory Prime Minister; a Cabinet stuffed with the out of touch, the irrelevant and the unimaginative; a new Government without ideas and without a clue to solve any of the big issues facing our country. The party opposite want to waste time with a debate about personalities because they can’t debate policy; they want a debate full of slogans because they can’t focus on the detail; they want a debate on a misunderstanding of our constitution because they can’t focus on the real needs facing our country.
And we all remember the last Conservative leader before the Leader of the Opposition. I’m sure the Right Honourable Gentleman does. He tried to hang onto power without an election after he replaced her. She was someone who makes the corrupt look kind, the vindictive look valorous, and the liars look laudable. They were dark days. All I ask is has the party that allowed such an individual to becoming a MP and then Leader changed enough to warrant being let in power again? The Leader of the Opposition may claim that things have changed, but talk is cheap – especially for someone who can rip up entire principles, entire policy platforms, entire streams of constitutional thought, just so they can taste power again. Yes, Mr Speaker, talk is cheap for someone who talks so much.
But let’s look at something other than talk: remember this is a party who has had to expel a racist from their ranks, who has a Shadow Cabinet member that thinks homosexuality is a sin, and who has members can’t stop spreading mistruths. There’s just too much hatred on the opposite benches: hatred against vulnerable refugees, hatred against minorities, hatred against our country and its future prosperity. We can’t let that hatred into Government.
Because they are too obsessed with hatred, too obsessed with policy divisions, and too concerned with their slimy grasp for power, the party opposite has missed that this country is changing – and changing for the better. When you spend your time in a dark and smoky room conniving, scheming, and playing as pound shop Machiavelli, you have so little time to go outside and talk to people.
So let me remind the party opposite what has been achieved since the last election: growth strong, unemployment down and wages up. We ended the ideological onslaught of austerity on our public services, and promoted their renewal. New investment in mental health services, free school meals for students, and increased childcare: all bringing benefits to my constituents, and constituents of every single member in this House. That is what the British public voted for; it is what we are delivering; it is what the people of Hull North voted for me to deliver in Parliament. We risk this by voting for an election. We must continue to deliver it, and keep our confidence in this Government.
MP for Hull North (2010 - )
Parliamentary - 7
Media - 6
Policy - 13
The Government has totally come off the rails. Over the last few days and weeks we saw one Prime Minister step down after much intrigue. She dropped a bunch of miscellaneous policies on the order paper on her way out the door, some of which were and are an utter mess. Labour had a leadership election and the new Prime Minister came to power...only to be in and out faster than a trip through a drive-through.
The new Prime Minister came in, through a hard-fought leadership campaign...and then the party rebelled almost overnight over a single lousy performance...yes, it was quite the show, but I'm not sure that it alone merited a resignation...at Prime Minister's Questions. The fact that the party was so quick to mount an internal VONC against a freshly-elected leader raises all sorts of troubling questions. You have to wonder how much of this was simmering from the minute the Labour leadership election results were announced, Mr. Speaker. Were we doomed to have a meltdown from the minute the Chancellor lost out to the PM? And where will we be if she does not get her way this time?
Probably more troubling is that, given the speed with which this has erupted, there seems to be no clear indication that the chaos will cease with the election of a new Labour leader. We have no indication what policies the new leader would be inclined to adopt, and so on.
Now, my colleagues across the House have tried to stoke all sorts of untoward fears. Let me put their words a bit more plainly, Mr. Speaker: They are afraid of losing. They are afraid that they will lose the next election. And to be frank, that is a valid concern of theirs: Their government has been a shambles for months, they clearly bungled their selection of a new Prime Minister over the last few weeks, and there is no reason for the voters to trust them. I am not sure there is even good reason for them to trust themselves!
With the Government having turned into an utter train wreck, with the prospect of a third Labour PM in a matter of months, with the Government doing policy doughnuts in the Palace parking lot, the people deserve to have their say. Whatever our individual mandates may be, I think it can only be fair to say that the Government has wandered far from its manifesto. The Government that was elected, this Coalition, can speak to no mandate...and of course, one has to wonder whether it would even hold together were party whips cracking their whips and deselection threats not looming on top of the threat of electoral oblivion.
The Reform Act comes to mind: Millions of voters voted against the content of the bill that was originally proposed, yet it is what the Government dumped on the desk. Even if we looked to the Coalition agreement, the two parties had inherently conflicting proposals and the agreement did nothing to resolve those conflicts. But the Labour-led Government persisted in driving against its own manfesto, leaving many of us to wonder who was in charge in the Government. The Government then had the nerve to invoke the Salisbury Conventions on many of those elements. Yes, I draw your attention back to the fact that the Labour Party tried to invoke the Salisbury Convention to try pushing through legislation which overtly violated its own manifesto. Using the Salisbury Convention to violate your own manifesto may not qualify as hypocrisy, Mr. Speaker, but the logic was so tortured that it should be referred to the ECHR.
I should also note, Mr. Speaker, that while we all stand on individual mandates in theory in practice many of our mandates are tied to the performance of our leaders. The minds of the voters are complicated things, but while I know that I do my best to serve the people of my constituency I also know that many of them will vote on the basis of the performance of my party's leadership. I would note that many of my colleagues opposite have put in much work over this term of government...work that I may disagree with but hard work all the same. And of course, those mandates are also tied to our parties' respective manifestoes as well, something that we at least hope gives a good sense for what we intend to support while in office. In short, Mr. Speaker, while we stand for our own mandates almost all of the Members of this House also stand under a given banner, not just as ourselves.
And to be sure, that collective mandate is in quite an odd position as of now: The voters voted for one of the various parties, not for the Coalition. You can make the case that the parties of the Coalition threw many of their voters under the bus when they struck their deal. I would contend that they threw a lot more of them under the bus when it came to actually implementing policy, as I have discussed. So where is the connection even between individual Government MPs and the mandate they were elected under now, as the Government veers recklessly from policy to policy with great speed and fervor? The chaos of the refugee policy is a stand-out here, with one Prime Minister leaving a mess of a policy for her successor to try to implement...and then to botch spectacularly as he tries to figure out what he should do with the 'present' he was left by his predecessor.
And even if you want to contend that the voters empower their MPs to use their judgment, the Members opposite must concede that there has been some very questionable judgment on the Government benches as of late. Look at the leadership crisis in particular. Moreover, that judgment cannot help but be clouded by the directions of whips and threats of deselection and defeat that must loom if they break ranks. The legal doctrine of duress comes to mind, Mr. Speaker.
At this point the Government is being held together by chewing gum and duct tape. It is being held together by threats and fears, not by hopes and dreams. The Government is staggering forward like some reanimated zombie. I would ask that the Deputy Prime Minister kindly take his shot so we can put it out of its misery, our misery, and the country's misery.
Steven Andrews, MP for Croydon South
34 Policy/18 Media/23 Parliamentary
I'll be honest - I didn't think I would be standing here and speaking today. The events in the past few days have made it difficult to get out of bed and interact with people, let alone speak in this House and address the public at a no confidence motion against a Labour government. But it's what must be done.
One reason it must be done is the kind of speculation being done by the Conservative Party. I get it - the Shadow Chancellor has no sense of good economic policy to take the direction in, committing to crossrail one week and wanting to scrap it the next, saying he'd scrap HS2 while espousing its benefits in the House, wanting to raise taxes on doctors not to bolster our armed forces, invest in our NHS, revitalise the social care system or improve our education system Mr. Speaker but give huge tax handouts to the bankers and the wealthiest people in the country by scrapping capital gains tax. Amongst my regrets resigning is I cannot challenge his snake oil.
I resigned because after frank talks with the Prime Minister I believe he acted discourteously to the Labour movement not as Prime Minister, but during his tenure as Chancellor of the Exchequer. This was after discussions were had with his predecessor where the Prime Minister spoke extensively among anything of 'knifing' my Right Honourable Friend for Holborn and St. Pancras. I could not stay in the Cabinet any longer in good conscience. I did not personally push for any removal, or any resignation from the Prime Minister himself, and planned to keep this to myself.
The Shadow Chancellor opines what would happen if I didn't 'get my way' again? My way isn't seeking political office Mr. Speaker, but I would fight, fight, fight if I didn't get my way Mr. Speaker. Because 'my way' now is what it has from day one. It is ensuring that our union is in safe hands. And now, crucially, it is how we can combat the confrontational atmosphere that's taken over our politics.
That's a problem with our political discourse, Mr. Speaker. I've mentioned it for a while. It's become politically toxic. The Conservatives are crooning about the Liberal Democrats and the Honourable Gentleman for Sutton and Cheam being so great now, but I remember when they were calling him things that would be unparliamentary to utter Mr. Speaker. On their sides accusations of lying and corruption had taken place. On our side the current Prime Minister has tweeted people telling them to 'jump into a river.'
That is the fundamental problem with our politics Mr. Speaker and it's blighted Conservative as well as Labour governments. This toxicity that has taken over our politics has been there a while. Up in Scotland centred around the Union, dow in England centred on what I imagine to be the European Union.
That is why a General Election would not help at this moment. It would not help because the sloganeering and the division it would cause would strengthen and not alleviate the toxicity in our politics.
But it also wouldn't help because at current the Opposition would do everything they can to intensify it. The Leader of the Opposition and his team have thrived on division at every opportunity.
I'll tell a story which I think best captures the opportunism of the Opposition, Mr. Speaker: I remember before the civil service briefed the government that a currency union would not be doable with the rest of the United Kingdom and Scotland following a vote for independence, the Leader of the Opposition was one of the many voices pushing us to say so while we were getting that information together.
Of course, once we relayed that information in a fair and honest way as possible it was the Shadow Chancellor himself who used his platform on Better Together to attack the government for doing what the Leader of the Opposition had asked us to do. They played politics with their Union and when I confronted the Leader of the Opposition over it, he acknowledged it was wrong and still refused to apologise, instead using Scotland as a piece of his political chessboard instead of cherishing it. While I was fighting for the Union on the streets of Glasgow, he was wrapped up in one of his many plots in his desperate bid to gain power.
That alone is absolutely unforgivable and it's why the Conservative Party under his leadership can never be allowed to thrive. Let me make it clear to you now, Mr. Speaker: the Conservatives would be a disaster for the fabric of the Union.
We also know this from their plan to leave the European Union. The Leader of the Opposition is happy to use the threat of leaving the European Union for political purposes, and to another group of people stoke the fires of that threat.
Even if you support leaving the European Union, how can you be happy with the Leader of the Opposition himself when he has told us he believes leaving the European Union would be bad for our economy, for our interests and most crucially for our union and said a referendum would be harmful, before changing his mind once that view was the only thing stopping him from becoming Prime Minister? Even if you support the European Union, how could you risk voting a man who thinks it would be a bad thing for you and your family and still wants to throw those dice?
Because the Leader of the Opposition is happy to take what he knows to be that huge risk so he could take the leadership of the Conservative Party and then the country. The only reason he still remains Leader of the Opposition is because as the Tory civil war rages on behind the scenes, he has refused to take a stand for the United Kingdom.
This is a Leader of the Opposition that has no plan for leaving the European Union despite putting that risk on the table, has no plan on how he would commit to a target of 250,000 refugees he signed up for as the government consults, who does not have a plan for any of the crucial issues facing our country - whether that's social care, housing or the environment.
This is a Leader of the Opposition whose opinions don't come from his conscience but from whatever polling he sees, who has access to anonymous twitter accounts so he can tweet gossip instead of hold the government to account, contributing to our politically toxic atmosphere.
Mr. Speaker, an election will not solve our problems with a magic bullet. But a government prepared to tackle the toxicity of the political atmosphere might.
This government has already taken the lead on so many issues: we fought for and saved the Union, we have ended austerity while cutting the deficit and we've kept growth and wages high where the Conservatives saw both low. If we put our energy into improving our politics and showing stable leadership for the country I know we would succeed. But where we need to start is voting this motion down and telling the Opposition that we've had a taste of him as Prime Minister - it did not work out very well.
I will not compromise our Union by giving him another go, Mr. Speaker. We must not compromise our Union by giving him another go. This government must reject this motion and then show the country leadership. I fear the consequences with every fibre of my being otherwise.
"[we] would rather die than leave the Labour Party." - Emily Thornberry.
Some governments lose steam over time. Others gather pace, reaching a climax midway through a term before slowly petering out over the years that follow. Some governments begin to fall when a visionary leader steps aside; others are refreshed and rejuvenated by a change of Prime Minister, and go on to survive into the future.
This government, Mr Speaker, is exceptional. It is exceptional in the path it has taken through the overgrown wilderness of its lifespan. From the moment of its birth to its twilight hours, the government formed by Ariadne Suchet and now led by persons unknown has stumbled melancholically from crisis to crisis, bereft of vision or mission and utterly without cause or competence.
It began in earnest with the budget that never was, as the government failed to implement most of its own policies and lost a Chancellor as it withdrew its own Finance Bill and went back to the drawing board. It continued with a lacklustre, tangibly tired campaign in the Scottish independence referendum, in which the Prime Minister remained hidden from the public - emerging only to conduct a newspaper interview before retreating back into the shadows. The next disaster came with the Reform Bill, brainchild of a Home Secretary long since gone, without whose clunking fist the Bill has long been doomed to failure. It is a mess of a Bill which the other place cannot possibly accept, which the British people do not want, and which flies in the face of the Labour Party’s own election promises.
Then came the maxim that the government giveth and the government taketh away; a second budget, presented by the man who will now become the shortest-serving Prime Minister in British history and presumably of all time, which savagely raised indirect taxation and duties to the detriment of working families. The government claimed that its income tax plan would save the average worker £1,000 a year, when it turned out that their calculations had gone very awry and that in truth the government’s offer represented £600 less back in the pockets of the people than the shadow budget which I myself presented.
The final nail in the coffin for this weak, wobbly and woeful government came with the botched announcement of Ariadne Suchet, as she was halfway out the door of Number 10, that Britain would take 250,000 refugees in four years. 100,000 would supposedly be taken this year, despite the fact that it takes more than a year to appropriately vet a prospective refugee. As one Prime Minister walked away, stabbed in the front by her own party, another came into office: he stuck by the plan, even though he admitted that he had no idea where refugees would come from, how they would be brought here, how they would be security checked and how they would be integrated into our society. The government’s legislation enabling the refugee programme was presented, then withdrawn; and the Prime Minister, after a disastrous session of Parliamentary questions in which many of his own MPs were seen to walk out of the chamber, announced his resignation after just days in Downing Street.
The United Kingdom now faces its third Labour Prime Minister in under two years, and if the record so far is to form the basis of our judgement of the future programme, I confess myself most fearful indeed. A government which has botched and butchered virtually every major policy announcement it has made, which has demonstrated the most supreme incompetence at every turn, and whose senior party now polls at a low so historic that it is unprecedented in the last 100 years, is not a government which can claim to have any mandate, any vision or any energy to continue.
The pound has taken a long and protracted slump ever since this government took office. Economic growth is slowing and inflation has risen. Unemployment has fallen, but underemployment has risen dramatically: the government’s tax grabs are making people poorer, and the instability at the heart of British politics is frightening investors away. None of the government’s major criminal justice policies have been enacted; on the NHS, on schools, virtually nothing has been done. Our armed forces have been ravaged by cuts and underinvestment, and our transport infrastructure has fallen into decline and decay. Housing is not being built at nearly the pace required, and the promised investment in flood defences and efforts to counter the effects of global climate change have not been forthcoming. In the international arena, the government has done nothing to bring its supposed reform agenda to the table within the European Union. There has been not a single official visit conducted by a British Prime Minister since 2013. Our obligations to NATO are being flouted, and where the government had an opportunity to engage with the world and lead in finding a solution to the refugee crisis, it chose instead to operate as a lone wolf with no regard for the global community.
Britain is no closer today to recovery than it was when Labour and the Liberal Democrats took up office. Indeed, Britain has gone backwards. The government threw £13 billion at the wall last year, and this year has reaped almost no reward for its excessive fiscal laxity. Government MPs have hailed the end of austerity, even as the most measly pay increases were meted out to our servicemen and women, even as our nuclear power stations fell into disrepair.
It is no wonder, then, that the Conservatives are now 23.5 percentage points ahead of all other parties in the opinion polls, and equally unsurprising that Labour languishes in third place, polling at its worst since 1910 even as the Liberal Democrats fail to progress beyond a prospective total of 40 seats in the House of Commons. In the upcoming London Mayoralty contest, it is Conservative candidates who are dominating the battlefield of ideas: and in Scotland and Wales, who next year will elect new Parliaments, the governing parties languish in humiliating single digits.
Of course, opinion polls are not everything. The only poll that matters is the final poll in a general election. But governments must recognise when they have lost the support of the people, and that frankly happened in this case long, long ago.
In Wales, they have a saying, and I hope Mr Speaker that you will permit me to quote it: Gorau adnabod, d'adnabod dy hun- the best knowledge is to know thyself. Time and time again, this government has proven that it does not know itself: it knows not what it stands for, what it stands to achieve, who its leaders are and where its heart lies. It is the government that was for grammar schools and then against them; for the expansion of Gatwick and then against it; for the single transferable vote and then against it; for a general election with each change of Prime Minister and now, conveniently, against it.
It is inaccurate to describe this government as one that has lost its way: it is a government that never knew where it was going in the first place. It has been led by lemmings and fuelled by failure; we now stand at the precipice, right on the cliff edge, of a colossal and catastrophic breakdown of trust in politics and politicians. The British people have never felt more disenfranchised and disillusioned, and if the government does not heed their warning when it is reasoned and decent, they will reap the reward of their anger when it is neither decent nor reasonable.
We have today the ultimate proof that socialist government does not work. The most left-wing government since the 1970s came into office promising the world, and it now stands to leave office having delivered nothing but the equal dolling out of misery. It is a truth fundamental to the nature of man that an ideology such as socialism, which preaches equality by levelling down and which preaches unity through the repression of the individual, of the free thinker and speaker, of the innovator, the entrepreneur and the quiet revolutionary whose character defines modern Britain, can never succeed in practice however honourable its morals appear in paper form. Socialism is an inherently pessimistic ideology, believing that Britain is worse today than once it was, and preaching that the solution is to implement a policy born and raised in the past. They want to take Britain backwards into the rose-tinted memory of a mystical golden age; we want to take Britain forwards into a future which can be brighter, bolder and more golden by far than where we have been before.
The socialists and the liberals, in their great alliance, have delivered a government which has acted only in its own interests and in the interests of narrow ideological purity. It raised taxes for thousands, sought to eliminate religious freedom through its rigorous policing of expression through social media, demonstrated utter contempt for the common people and delivered absolutely nothing of any value to our people. A socialist fears nobody more than the working class, humble, disempowered man whom he claims most fervently to represent, because he knows that than one man, the world’s quiet revolutionary, is more powerful by far than the sum of a thousand state-controlled parts. He is the man who may choose; choose to raise a family, choose to start a business, choose to change the world - choose to vote a different way. When people are free to choose, they do not choose socialism. And when the reckoning comes, those harried people will not choose those who have let them down so profoundly and with such inimitable disdain for the past year.
This government is decadent, it is dishevelled, shrivelled and dying on its feet. For months it has done nothing, and now nothing can save it. The British people have utterly lost all hope, and they are desperate to pass their verdict. I beseech those on the government benches, and particularly those Liberal Democrat voices whom I know not to be the narrow ideologues that they have led themselves to enact, to declare no confidence in this government of the foolish and the failing, and in so doing to declare unbridled confidence in Britain, in its people and in its future.
I say to the Deputy Prime Minister: rid us of this monstrous regime, close down this failed Parliament and let the people speak anew. With fire blazing in our hearts and our eyes opened wide to the winds of the future, we must surely know that we can do better. The government has seen an end to the age of reason; but the age of revival is yet to come.
Mr Speaker, I commend this motion to the House and I commend it to the country. This feeble men and women are not your leaders; they are the dead, living on borrowed time. I urge every member of this august chamber to lay the failed, the failing and the festering to rest, and allow the fastidious and the faithful to take their place. My faith is in tomorrow, and if this House declares this government unfit to rule for a single day longer, then tomorrow will break dawn today.
Mr Speaker the Right Honourable Lady spoke at length about why the Conservative Party should not be allowed into power but she spent next to no time opining about why Labour should be allowed to keep it. This is arrogance of the highest order and cannot be allowed to stand.
What does a Conservative Government mean for the tens of millions of British citizens living up and down the country? A Conservative Government means an £800 a year tax cut for the average earner, that is a 2.1% pay rise for every man and woman earning the average yearly wage on top of whatever their employer gives them. The Right Honourable Lady talks about a pay squeeze despite the fact that real wages were trending up under the previous Conservative-led Government, the answer to a pay squeeze is not to tax and borrow more for spending purposes it is to put money back in the pockets of the millions upon millions of people working in this country. Under this Government growth has stalled, our pro-business agenda would cut corporation tax and abolish capital gains tax to encourage businesses and entrepreneurs to flock to this country bringing jobs and investment for all. All the Government could manage in the last budget was a stealth tax on business under the auspices of a National Insurance hike, something their manifesto explicitly ruled out. Two years ago it was the Conservative Party's Shadow Budget that out-invested the Government's budget in the realms of primary care and hospitals, it was the Conservative Party's tireless activism that prevented the Government from abandoning millions of pensioners to pension poverty by abolishing the triple lock, and it is the Conservative Party who are working to abolishing the sickness tax that is the prescription charge. That is what a Conservative Government means for the people of this country, tax cuts, paying down the deficit, and investing in key public services without throwing money at the wall in the vague hope that something sticks. This Government's reckless borrowing agenda has added £30bn to the national debt over two years compared to our spending plans, including over 15yrs of debt repayment on just their "general infrastructure spending" plan. The Conservative Party are the only party that the public trust on the economy because we are the only party with a cogent plan for the economy, Labour have no plan they have a headline and they chase it ruthlessly, when one leader stumbles for a moment they have more knives shoved into their back than Julius Caesar and Jon Snow combined. This is not leadership, this is not stable government, it is failure. That is but one reason why this country needs a general election, a chance to set the economic record straight and a chance for the country to weigh in on the debate of whether they want more debt or lower taxes.
The Right Honourable Lady attempted to savage me with personal attacks, claiming that I am no leader. Mr Speaker ignoring the fact that I am about to see my third Labour Prime Minister in a year and a half, my second unelected Labour leader in two months, absence of leadership is not a quality that can be levelled at the door of my party. Throughout the last two years my party have been at the forefront of many great innovations and campaigns. It was the Conservative Party who took the initiative and campaigned with the Right Honourable Lady in Scotland - I myself traversed the country many times drumming up support for our campaign - when the then Prime Minister decided to stay home for a cosy fireside chat, it was the Conservative Party that proposed and passed the Scotland Act to deliver on the pledges we made in that referendum while Labour stayed away, did not debate it, and tried to conspire with the SNP to vote down the bill for no reason other than it not being a Labour-led bill. It is not the Conservative Party that are the true threat to the union, it is the Conservative and Unionist Party that stands up for the union at every , I know it, they know it, and the British people know. The peoples of Scotland and Wales are fed up with being taken for granted, they need an election so that they can show whom they pick to defend the union we all hold so precious.
On foreign policy the Conservative Party are united in our goals. We want to see Daesh dealt with, we want to make safe the war zones that the refugees this Government had no intention of taking in beyond forging a legacy for their Prime Minister so that when we take these people in we know it will some day be safe for them to return and rebuild with their families. We want to work with international partners to identify a multinational consensus on the taking of the most vulnerable refugees be they Muslim, Christian, Arab, or anything else besides. The Labour Party didn't speak to a single other country or NGO charity before they made the decision to announce their policy, they didn't consider for a moment where they would get the refugees from, the only thing they considered was how they would vet the refugees and they decided that the best decision was to outsource it to the United Nations instead. Again this is not leadership, this is not cogent policy, this is failure and political opportunism with the express intention of safeguarding one woman's legacy and trying to steal the political narrative with no idea what to do with it when it's been seized.
On Europe again the charge is that we have no plan and that we are not leading. This is so far from the case that it is farcical. I have spoken at length about my desire to see the United Kingdom remain inside the European Union but the one thing I will not do to ensure that is deprive the British people of their voice to do it. The organisation that we joined in 1973, that we voted on in 1975, is not the same organisation that we sit in now in 2015. I believe that the EU has evolved for the better, I believe that their work on equal pay, on free trade, and on open markets is work that should be celebrated, but if the people think differently then it is our duty to consult them on such an important constitutional question. This Government will waste the country's time holding the second electoral reform referendum in four years, that one in eight people in this country endorsed at the election, and it will waste the people's time with a referendum for government in Cornwall that the majority rejected in 2014 but they will not consult the British people on our future in the EU despite a clear majority of the country supporting pro-referendum parties. The Right Honourable Lady should admit it now, the Labour Party are running scared of the question of Europe because it would reopen internal party divisions that they'd rather bury and because they are not secure enough in their convictions that they can be sure that they'd get what they believe to be the correct answer. The Conservative Party would give the people a say, leave or remain, a once in a generation choice where we would implement the wishes of the majority with no government interference. The people deserve the right to decide if they want to be asked the question of if we should remain in the EU or not, the people deserve an election to have that question put to them if the Government won't put the referendum themselves.
Mr Speaker, I moved this motion of no confidence because the people have no confidence in the Labour Party to lead them. The party they voted for but 18 months ago bears no resemblance to the party they are faced with now. The Prime Minister has been knifed not once but twice, the manifesto has been abandoned, the commitment not to increase the deficit lies broken and forgotten, the commitment to fight for Scotland was gambled away on a political punt to try and embarrass the Tories, and their foreign policy plans have descended into farce. The Prime Minister will join a long line of failed mid-term appointments, adding his name to the ranks of Callaghan, Brown, and Cambel as individuals who were selected not by the electorate but by party selectorate and then made a complete and utter mess of the situation. The country deserves a say on who shall be the next one to govern them, I urge members to give them it.
Conservative MP for North East Bedfordshire
Leader of the Opposition (2014-16)
Prime Minister (2014)
Parliamentary Experience: Novice (25)
Media Experience: Experienced (62)
Policy Experience: Novice (29)
I will be proudly voting today to express my confidence in Her Majesty's Government.
I am not going to do that, Mr Speaker, without acknowledging that these are trying times and that this Government has made mistakes. They are, and it has. We must do better. I am deeply, deeply sorry to my constituents for the fact that today we are debating this and not matters that are more important to their daily lives.
But let us be clear why the Opposition has put down this motion today. Constantly, for the last month or more, they have been responding to any reasonable debate, any important matter of public discourse or interest, with an almost parrot-like repetition of one word. Election. Election. Election. They are so disgusted, Mr Speaker, with the fact that they were kicked out of office last year, that they are intent on a re-run so that the Leader of the Opposition can walk back into Downing Street as if nothing had really changed.
They are not interested in good government. They are not interested in constitutional government. They are not interested in what is best for this country. They are only interested in their own petty pursuit of power, and they sense an opportunity now to get it.
They have no new policies beyond a return to the past - to austerity, to unemployment, to stagnant growth and rampant inflation - except their own ambition. They have no platform except anything but Labour. They have no principles except the principle that their public school education drilled into them - that they were born to lead, and the country born to follow.
And the Leader of the Opposition will listen to this and say, "But the Polls!"
We had a poll last year- and they lost. The only poll that matters, and that we explicitly tell people matters - is the poll to elect their members of Parliament. Each of us here in this House was elected to a five-year mandate to legislate, to hold the executive to account, and to support the party we represent and on whose platform we stood on.
There are those on the opposition benches that want us to abandon this mandate, to subvert the vote that the people gave last year and re-run it, or ignore it, because it is convenient for them and their pursuit of power. I say no, Mr Speaker. I say if this House, elected by the People, no longer has confidence in the Government or in its Prime Minister then let it express that; but otherwise let it get on with the business of government rather than entertaining the power plays of the Conservative Party.
Did this House, Mr Speaker, meet to express no confidence when hundreds of thousands were forced to foodbanks by the Conservative-led government’s welfare cuts?
Did this House, Mr Speaker, meet to express no confidence when police numbers fell through the floor and crime rose?
Did this House, Mr Speaker, meet to express no confidence when the government failed to convince its own MPs and the rest of this House to support it in military action in Syria?
No, Mr Speaker, it did not. Perhaps by the logic of the opportunistic opposition today, it should have. But despite those historic blunders, which surely had more impact on real people in the real world than the regrettable political drama in Westminster, the House held the government to account but did not seek at every stage to undermine its very ability to govern. The Opposition of that day was, very clearly, of a dying breed that was less opportunistic and more committed to the continuation of good functioning Parliamentary democracy in the UK.
And finally, I think in all of this, we have lost sight of the fact that this coalition government is delivering on the collective promises of the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats. As the Opposition likes to constantly remind us, no Party of Prime Minister achieved a majority. What we are governing with now is a democratic compromise between the elected representatives of two parties. Not two leaders. Two parties, two groups of elected MPs. Whoever is elected leader of the Labour party and is so chosen to lead the delivery of that, nothing changes. That programme remains in place. The promises we made on behalf of the British people hold.
And beneath the bluster and the drama those promises are popular and important and delivering for the British people. We have ended austerity. We have reversed the welfare cuts that caused such abject suffering. We have given our public servants a well-deserved pay rise. We have expanded our economy, created jobs, and kept the cost of living fair and reasonable. Members in this House should look through the regrettable mistakes and missteps of the personnel and look at the facts.
And the facts are these. We have a Labour-Lib Dem government delivering for the people of this country. We have a programme for government agreed between the elected representatives of the people, to be implemented irrespective of the leadership of any parties. We have many promises we have made yet to implement. And against that we have a Conservative opposition that has not changed, that is so power hungry it is willing to abandon its own Parliamentary principles to achieve it, and that is more obsessed with the daily movement in the Leader of the Opposition’s popularity rating than it is with the real issues of the day.
I urge all members to vote Noe tonight, to express their confidence in Her Majesty’s Government, and to put firmly behind us the regrettable drama of the past weeks and say firmly and with one voice that it is time for this Labour-Liberal Democrat coalition to get back to work.
Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for the Home Department
Labour MP for Brent North (2005 - )
The members of this Government can play the "whatabout" game all day. I would say, however, that the last Conservative-led government did not replace the victim of leaks with the perpetrator of leaks. Any party that did that, as well as subject this country to the bizarre drama of a two week premiership, has really lost the plot, and is governing this country so badly a new election is imperative. It is true, I acknowledge, that a new election is an extraordinary remedy. But really, Mr. Speaker, this Labour-led Government has been shockingly poor in maintaining the public trust.
MP for Milton Keynes North (2014- )
Shadow Secretary of State for Energy,
Environment and Climate Change (2016)
I thank the Rt Hon Leader of the Opposition for his lengthy discussion of policy proposals. Perhaps had he presented them at the last election he would be in office now. But he did not present them at the last election and he did not win at the last election, which is why he is the Rt Hon Leader of the Opposition and not the Rt Hon Prime Minister.
The reality of our constitution is that Governments, per the Fixed Term Parliaments Act that the Rt Hon Leader of the Opposition supported and now wants to amend when it's convenient for him, have a term about them. So long as they retain the confidence of the House, they are allowed to carry out the duration of their term.
More notably, Mr Speaker, the opportunism of the Rt Hon Leader of the Opposition shines through again. After the last Conservative administration had two unelected Prime Ministers in nearly as many months, of which the Rt Hon Leader of the Opposition was one, why did he not choose to fight for reform of the Fixed Term Parliaments Act then? Why did he not feature the problem of unelected Prime Ministers, which he must have been familiar with seeing as he was one, in the Tory Party manifesto? If he thinks unelected Prime Ministers are such a problem, why wasn't he as vocal as he is now when Mary Cambel took over? Why did he scramble to try and hold power when he became the second unelected Tory Prime Minister in two months? He didn't do anything because it benefited him at the time! And now that he's out of office, he's looking for new ways to twist the record and make the system benefit him again.
This is nothing less than an opportunistic motion and, now, opportunistic legislation, Mr Speaker. It is the policy of an opposition that stands for nothing, while promising everything. The Tory Party is spinning around and around in circles trying to be all things to all people - the key thing is that fortunately for them they have excellent spin doctors running their communications shop.
MP for Hammersmith
Parliamentary: Unknown (13)
Media: Unknown (17)
Policy: Unknown (18)
As an elected MP for West Ham, as a member of this Government, and - most importantly - as a citizen of the United Kingdom, I rise today in staunch opposition to this motion of no confidence. This motion is an opportunistic assault on our democratic norms and mores. It is an exercise in hubris - that is what I can say about this motion. After all, the Rt. Hon. Leader of the Opposition just spent many a minute arguing that that the will of the British people, expressed at the last General Election, should be replaced by the will of the minority party.
Mr Speaker, I reject the argument that the Labour Party, in conjunction with its Liberal Democratic coalition partners, has no mandate to govern. This trite claim that has been repeatedly asserted by the Tories is just that: overused and invalid. I, for one, am a proud democrat and believe that the will of the people from across our United Kingdom shouldn't be overturned by the will of politicians here in Westminster. The fact of the matter is that the party opposite rejects this democratic notion.
I find it the height of hypocrisy that the same party that brought us the Fixed Term Parliaments Act now seeks a u-turn on the issue of a government's mandate. As pointed out by my friend, the Hon. member for Hammersmith, this is not just hypocritical on the part of the party opposite, it is hypocritical specifically for the Rt. Hon. Leader of the Opposition. This is, of course, because of his efforts to hang onto power when he himself was a "unelected" Prime Minister. Only after failing to reach an agreement with his then-coalition partners was he required to seek a fresh mandate from the British people.
Mr Speaker, I also wanted to weigh in about the record of this Government, to which I am proud to have been recently appointed. Mr Speaker, I believe this is only fit and right because those speaking from the opposition benches seem to believe this Government deserves to lose the confidence of this body. So, let's examine the records a bit here, shall we?
In our campaign manifesto, Labour promised to work hard for working Britons. I firmly believe that this Labor-Liberal Democrat government has delivered for those very same hard-working Britons that we pledged to support in our manifesto.
While the Tories had forced austerity onto the British people, it was this Government that restored funding to critical priorities, even as our deficit is declining.
While the Tories focus on selective grammar schools that deprive the majority of children from a high-quality education, it was this Government that expanded the pupil premium.
While the Tories seek to undermine our very democratic values with this motion, it was this Government that passed a Reform Bill fit for the 21st century.
While the Tories would restrict immigration as part of their fear of foreigners, it was this Government that ensured all who want to play by the rules and make a future for themselves and their families would be welcome in Britain.
While the Tories would take us out of the European Union and into the shambles of economic isolationism, it was this Government that reaffirmed our commitment to a Europe we can all be proud of.
Mr Speaker, this is just a part of a record that this House should recognize as being for the best interest of everyday British people. As a nation, we must continue to move forward, not backwards. This motion moves us backwards, and jeopardizes that myriad accomplishments that have been realized. I will be voting Noe on this motion, and urge all of my Parliamentary colleagues to do such as well.
Noah Murray (LAB-West Ham)
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
Parliamentary: Unknown (12)
Media: Unknown (19)
Policy: Unknown (8)
Mr Speaker I have never seen so many Labour MPs in this chamber in my life, if only they'd turned up with such vigour to the debate on the Scotland Act, or indeed any other legislation that has been proposed to this Chamber. It is fitting perhaps that as the Government, resplendent after the knifing of a second Prime Minister in the back, fights for its very survival the Labour Party suddenly remember perfectly where this chamber is. Why were the people of Scotland not viewed as important enough? Why were the litany of statements by the Right Honourable Gentleman for Sutton and Cheam, statements that Conservative MPs responded to at every opportunity, not judged to be worthy of response? Why is it that at every turn except this one that the Labour Party have held this House and the public that elected them with nothing but contempt? The arrogance of the Labour Party is extraordinary and their belief that they have some divine right to rule despite the fact that everything has fallen around them is absurd.
Now let me respond to the individuals opposite, individuals who will say or do anything to cling to power, individuals who would say things that are blatantly untrue. I do not want to use the word "liar" Mr Speaker as that would be unparliamentary but the public will come to their own conclusions I am sure. It is the Conservative Party who would cut taxes for the average worker by £800 per year, so I reject wholeheartedly the assertion by the Member for Hammersmith that a Conservative Government would mean higher taxes for anyone but the well-off. It was the Labour Party that broke their pledge not to raise National Insurance int he last budget when they used it to stealthily take hundreds of millions out of the pockets of British business whilst claiming to cut taxes. If the British people want a pro-business government they won't find one in the ranks of the Labour Party, they will find one in the ranks of a Conservative Party that would cut corporation tax and abolish Capital Gains Tax to promote growth and investment in the UK, growth that the Labour Party managed to cut in the last year whilst prices grew faster and faster.
To the Member for Cynon Valley I extend my deepest sympathies. It is clear that many in the Labour Party were tricked into believing that the Right Honourable Member for Tottenham would in anyway make a competent leader, but that is why we need an election. The next Prime Minister cannot be selected by a cabal of trades unionists and Labour MPs, the British people must put them through their paces. As Douglas-Home and Callaghan failed so did Brown, as Cambel failed so did the the Right Honourable Gentleman for Tottenham. Of the last six Prime Ministers who did not face election immediately only John Major may be described in any way as a success and even then the success was only temporary. An election campaign sharpens the mind and lets the British people know exactly where they stand with the new leader, a new leader in whom this House would bestow an extraordinary amount of executive power. The power to command military strikes, the power to initiate government business, the power to move secondary legislation. These are powers that the mandates of MPs are not sufficient to cover, the British people must choose whom THEY trust to wield these powers, not simply be told to suck it up and accept it by the unions and the members opposite.
On the point that that same member alleges illegality on my part, or even the part of the former Prime Minister, I say to her that she is talking rubbish, pure and unadulterated poppycock and balderdash. Nothing I heard was contrary to the Official Secrets Act so the Honourable Lady should return to this House with some proof or she should return to her seat, get back on Twitter, and apologise for spreading such malicious falsehoods. If the Government commission an investigation into the government's plurality of leaking then I shall endorse it fully if, as with the Cambel Commission, it is carried out externally and without any ability for politicians to influence it in anyway. However I doubt Labour would ever commission such a commission for fear that it unveiled the problem goes deeper than one rogue Chancellor of the Exchequer come Prime Minister.
To the Honourable Member for Hull North I say this, it was not the Conservative Party that abandoned Parliament and held the people in contempt in debate after debate. It was not the Conservative Party that announced plans to expand Gatwick airport to the press, begrudgingly find themselves dragged to Parliament to explain themselves properly, and then u-turn at the first sight of opposition within the party. It was the Conservative Party that outlined plans in detail to expand airport capacity outside of London and to adequately connect it to existing transport infrastructure. It wasn't the Conservative Party that held the entire Scottish nation in contempt by failing to show up for a single debate, actively attempting to kill the bill, and only showing up to vote when it was clear that that attempt had failed. It was the Conservative Party that proposed Opposition Day legislation, debated it in detail, and passed the bill from the opposition benches. Then when Labour finally decided to grace the House with its presence for the Wales Bill we worked with the Right Honourable Member for Glasgow North East to further strengthen devolution for Wales whilst also devolving it the same powers that we devolved to the people of Scotland. It wasn't the Conservative Party who called a set of cross-party talks on social care, resigned, and left the talks for over a year, that was the Labour Party. We turned up with a set of credible proposals and were left waiting for responses that never came. The Right Honourable Lady wants to talk about policy over platitudes, it was the Conservative Party conference that was widely lauded for outlining our plan for Government, it is the Conservative Party that continues to make the case for our policies every single day, and it is the Conservative Party that will deliver for hard working Brits whether the election is next week, next year, or in 2019.
The right honourable lady also conflates hatred with demanding a plan, an easy mistake to make when you're government has no plan I'll grant. It is not hatred for refugees that shades Conservative Party thought, it is desire to see a plan enacted successfully, sustainably and properly that colours our thinking. Two successive Labour Prime Ministers have committed to bringing in 250,000 refugees over four years, I believe this to be a laudable goal and I commend the Government for the courage of their convictions. What I do not commend them for is the manner in which they have gone about trying to deliver upon those convictions. To which nations did the Prime Minister speak to build the coalition required to extract refugees from one of the most dangerous war zones on the planet? To which charities and NGOs did she or her successor speak to? How many world leaders signed up to this plan before it was announced and how many have signed up since? On other questions, where will the Government even get these refugees from? Will they find them across Europe? How about in Syria? Libya? The Mediterranean crossings? The anti-Christian near-genocide in Iraq? We know how the Government intends to vet the refugees but again this is not adequate, we cannot outsource a task of this magnitude to the United Nations.
And then there are other accusations, accusations that the Conservative Party somehow hates its country and its prosperity. I ask the Honourable Lady who it was who pledged an £800/yr tax cut to the average worker in our country, a veritable 2.1% pay rise for everyone earning the average wage? It was the Conservative Party. Labour were busy trying to package their £200 tax cut as a £1000 tax cut. You can't trust a snake oil salesman, you can't trust a party that sells its tax cuts as five times greater than its true value. On the subject of prosperity I risk repeating myself but I will do for the Right Honourable Lady's benefit. It was this Government that increased taxes on British business whilst claiming to cut taxes, it was the Labour Party that cynically cut Corporation Tax whilst raising National Insurance Contributions shifting the tax burden away from profits and onto the payroll, disincentivising employers to employ more people. It is the Conservative Party who would turbo charge the economy by cutting corporation tax and abolishing capital gains tax, encouraging investment into this country and encouraging businesses to grow.
The Right Honourable Lady for Glasgow North asks whether we should not have an election because it would be too divisive. I ask the Right Honourable Lady whether we halted elections during the 1930s when Fascism marched on the streets of Britain? Did we halt elections in the 1970s when the unions held the country to ransom? This country has never allowed division to prevent us from executing our democratic duty. I will save the House from my remonstrations about the absolute falsehood that is the idea that the Tories would be bad for the union. The Tories have passed a Scotland Act, we are passing a Scotland Bill to which I am grateful to the Right Honourable Lady for her input, the Tories have put the union first and we have delivered on the mandate of the 2014 referendum where Labour dragged their heels and refused to move.
The honourable member for Brent North opines that the Tories have been singly devoted to an election since Ariadne Suchet was stabbed in the back by her own cabinet colleagues. Well while Labour was playing at Game of Thrones Mr Speaker the Conservative Party proposed the Wales Bill which stands on the precipice of passing. While Labour took time out of governing to try and appeal to the unions to support their candidate the opposition stepped in yet again to fill the void left by Labour's inadequacy. We acted on Scotland, we've acted on Wales, we will continue to act where Labour drops the ball.
The honourable lady says that the Tories want to return to stagnant growth and rampant inflation, that's quite frankly baffling and I call upon her to withdraw those remarks because under this Government growth has fallen and inflation has risen. How can the Conservatives be the party of higher prices and lower growth when growth was higher and trending up when we left office and inflation was lower and trending down. But if the honourable lady wants to compare economic records she will see a litany of broken promises on the part of the Labour Party. The Labour Party promised to keep the triple lock, their first budget abandoned it, in the face of considerable Tory-led opposition they had to withdraw the budget and reinstate it. The Labour Party pledged not to increase National Insurance Contributions, they broke that pledge and slapped businesses with hundreds of millions in tax hikes on National Insurance. She claims that the Government have expanded the economy, the economy is growing more slowly now than it did under the Tories. She claims that they have ended austerity, that pledge lasted a single year and then the Government replaced it with tax-hike austerity, raising billions off of the backs of business, motorists, and people saving for their pensions. Under this government you will pay more to buy a car, you will pay more to fill the tank, and you will pay more to insure the car. Under this government you will pay more to employ people. Under this government you will pay more tax on your pension savings or you will save less. This is not a credible economic strategy and it is not an economic record to be proud of. Why does the Honourable Lady think the Conservative Party are by far and away the more trusted party on the economy? Because we recognise the value of people's money to them, we don't waste it, and we don't then increase borrowing to mortgage the next generation's future as well.
Mr Speaker I urge the House yet again to reject the politics of failure that has run endemically through this Government in their dealings with pensioners, motorists, the Scottish people, business, and people on low and average incomes. I urge the House to vote no confidence in this Government.
Conservative MP for North East Bedfordshire
Leader of the Opposition (2014-16)
Prime Minister (2014)
Parliamentary Experience: Novice (25)
Media Experience: Experienced (62)
Policy Experience: Novice (29)