Emma Lewell-Buck MP: Our ‘zombie Government’ is unfit for purpose

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As Theresa May limped towards the summer holidays after the trauma of losing her Commons majority at June’s election, her MPs and Ministers are left in turmoil over fears that the party may return in the autumn and descend into a chaotic leadership contest triggered by yet another Tory civil war over Europe.

Only Tory self-preservation and a grubby deal with the DUP is keeping May in office and the Tories in power.

But this is a lowest common denominator ‘Zombie’ government led by the least worst prime minister the Tories have got.

To survive, the Tories will need to make lots of concessions like the last-minute one on funding abortions in England for Northern Irish women. It was a reminder that Parliament, not the Government, now calls the shots – especially when MPs form a cross-party alliance on an issue, as they will do on Brexit.

New analysis from Labour reveals paralysis at the heart of Tory Government with democracy stalled.

We already know that the Civil Service is totally dominated by dealing with Brexit without any extra staff or funding which naturally takes human resources away from other important departments.

We know that the Queen’s Speech proposed very little new policy initiatives outside of Brexit.

And we know that the Government had to be taken to court to allow Parliament a vote on triggering Article 50, to begin the process of leaving the EU.

But we also now know that Parliamentary time is being manipulated by the Tories in other ways to bypass scrutiny from the Opposition.

The Government’s unilateral decision to have a two-year session of Parliament, instead of the usual one year, will result in a halving of the number of days for Opposition, Private Member’s bill and Backbench Business debates which is an assault on the democratic process.

Conservative plans mean we are set for eight months without a single Opposition Day, denying vital scrutiny of Government business.

The government has delayed their Select Committee elections until after the summer recess, while Labour nominated their Select Committee Chairs last week.

In the last 21 days of parliament, legislation was only discussed on 4 of those days – and all for a total of just under 13 hours.

There has been just seven votes in the Commons since the Queen’s Speech in June and let’s not forget that vital Parliamentary time and a big chunk of Brexit negotiating time was wasted on the calling of an unnecessary General Election.

So far, in the current session, only four Government bills have been introduced in the House of Commons

This is hardly a shining example of a sovereign, democratic parliament.

These are uncertain times. Now, more than ever, we need a strong Government who can navigate the choppy waters of Brexit and bring the country together.

Yet all we have is a feeble prime minister who called an election to get a landslide and ended up with a hung parliament.

Who, 20 points ahead called a referendum on herself and lost and is now hopelessly lagging behind in the polls.

The Tories have lost their mandate, lost consensus in the country and lost any consensus even amongst themselves. They are stunted by their own appalling governance.

Both the Brexit vote and the general election show the powerful yearning for change. But the Tories can’t deliver it.

They can’t run a transparent Government and they can’t pull the country together.

All they do is plot, evade and divide us.

So Labour must get into power and deliver the dynamic, strong Government this country needs.