A Week in Parliament

Following the resignation of David Davis, just 4 days into the job, the new Secretary for Exiting the EU, Dominic Raab, had the job of presenting the UK Government’s White Paper. And what a shambles the entire process was…the papers were given to the press to read under embargo. When he stood up to do his statement, 4 hours after the press received copies of the White Papers, MPs still did not have the chance to receive them. The Speaker adjourned the sitting for 5 minutes to allow MPs to pick up the report once the vote office was allowed to release them.

It must be remembered that the new Secretary was giving a statement on the White Papers, that we as MPs were then supposed to ask him questions on. A difficult task without the document in your hand. Even so, what I quickly established is that instead of any definitive proposals, all we have, after two years remember, is a set of wish-lists. By skim reading some paragraphs I was able to list a number of areas where the papers state the UK Government want to explore options with the EU. I listed the financial sector; air transport agreement; road haulier access; internal energy market; an arrangement with Euroatom [needed to get radio isotopes for cancer treatment]. These suggestions are blindingly obvious. It seems that David Davis’s 2 years of work has achieved nothing and now these need resolved by October, in just a few months’ time! 

Ester McVey/Universal Credit

The DWP Secretary of State gave a statement to the House of Commons giving her version of an audit report on the roll out of universal credit. Her comments distorted the report so much that the National Audit Office (NAO) head officials wrote an open letter to her correcting what she said. Under the archaic system of Westminster I cannot accuse the Secretary of lying but “inadvertently misleading the House”. She then came to the House of Commons to apologise and tried to take some moral high ground that she was so good for apologising. I am not sure that is how it works. When you interpret “pause” in a report to mean “speed up the rollout” then you are incompetent or disingenuous.

She also then explained all the wonderful changes they have made to the system: these changes weren’t of the Government’s doings but forced because the High Court ruled many measures illegal. The NAO report also confirms that there is no way to measure how effective universal credit is in helping people back into work, yet Tories still parrot lines that universal credit is helping thousands back into work despite the lack of evidence.

Gareth Southgate

England doing well at the world cup, resulted in a Tory MP requesting I sign a letter to the PM, requesting a knighthood for him. The premise seemed to be, that he is a ”nice guy” and “He has restored faith in the national team”. Eh, not my national team, and I don’t believe in nominating people for knighthoods. I wish Gareth well, but this request sums up the Westminster bubble.

These thoughts were first published in the Kilmarnock Standard.