Another week of Conservative chaos. Another week of squabbling, empty threats and posturing as the country looks on and wonders when they will grow up and start doing their job.
The Rwanda ‘plan’ is a bizarre hill for Rishi Sunak and the Conservatives to die on. We now know the Prime Minister didn’t even think it would work in the first place, but he has still chosen to sign cheques worth almost £300 million without a single plane ever taking off. People are crying out for help with the cost of living crisis. Our public services are crumbling with local councils – like Suffolk County Council – having to make brutal cuts. Yet the Conservatives have become totally obsessed with an eye-wateringly expensive, failing scheme.
All the while, the majority of so-called backbench ‘rebels’ who threatened the Prime Minister over the Rwanda bill ended up being all mouth and no trousers as their opposition whimpered away. One Conservative MP said he didn’t vote ‘no’ because Labour MPs were laughing at him. It is not difficult to see why.
Of course, the Conservatives could have finally got a grip and got back to work, backing Labour’s serious plan to crack down on criminal gangs with a new cross border police unit, and to clear the backlog to end asylum hotel use. Resettlement routes should also be reformed to stop people being exploited by gangs, and humanitarian crises should be tackled at source. Instead, the Conservative circus continues.
While Conservative MPs may relish the soup opera, touring the TV studios to try and boost their profile (and their ego), for the rest of the country it is tedious at best and exhausting at worst.
For them to now threaten to topple Rishi Sunak and anoint a fourth Prime Minister in less than two years beggar’s belief. There is little doubt that he is a weak, indecisive and ineffective leader, but he is not the root of the problem, he is just the face of it.
These MPs, desperate for a miracle, hope that another destabilising, self-indulgent leadership election battle will turn around their flagging polling numbers. The reality is that they are just as culpable for the nose-diving of the Conservative Party’s fortunes. They are part of a Government that has given up governing, and are guilty of trying to run our country by gimmick. Shuffling the deckchairs is simply not going to work.
They also fundamentally ignore the mood in the country. People don’t want another Prime Minister imposed on them from the Conservative merry-go-round. We are already feeling the damage they have done to our finances and our public services. We want a fresh start. We want a General Election.
The contrast between a Conservative Party beset by infighting and the Labour Party is stark. I wrote about Labour’s Child Health Action Plan last week, a plan full of ambition and hope – from ending the crisis in child mental health to transforming NHS dentistry. In recent weeks, Labour has also spoken about putting education at the forefront of national life again, and about restoring our country’s reputation for business.
We are presenting a vision of what Britain could be, backed up by the policies that will make that vision a reality, and underpinned by the restoration of duty and public service. Being an MP is like being on a gameshow, it is a serious business, and the decisions you make affect the lives of millions of people.
So enough of the Conservative psychodrama. There is no point in another week of this Government, let alone another year. It is time for a General Election, and a better future.