Labour hit out at ‘chaos’ in Parliament and Tories’ ‘inability to govern’

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Labour said government bills are disappearing at a “rate of knots” as they hit out at “chaos” in Parliament.

Shadow Commons leader Thangam Debbonaire said an “inability to govern” is “bringing this country to a grinding halt”.

The Labour frontbencher hit out at the Government after a statement on a controversial new coal mine in Cumbria was delayed by an hour because, the Speaker said, full copies had not been provided to him or the opposition.

Ms Debbonaire said it had happened three times in two weeks, before going after the Government on what she described as breaking promises on the delivering of legislation.

“Sorry about this, this is not the way we do good government,” Sir Lindsay said.

Speaking later on questions relating to the business of the House, Ms Debbonaire said: “This morning’s chaos… is the latest – not the only – the latest example of a minister failing in their duties to provide a copy of a ministerial statement… I’m dismayed at the absolute shambles that we saw this morning, it’s just not on.

“Back to government chaos on handling of legislation, and their sofa down the back of which bills seem to be disappearing at a rate of knots. Never mind bills not making progress, some like the Online Safety Bill are heading back in time, going back upstairs.

“We hear others aren’t ever actually going to happen at all. Just yesterday the Government dropped two more,” she said.

Parliament’s 2022 Christmas tree
Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan confirmed on Wednesday the Bill had been dropped, blaming the focus on other issues such as the pandemic and cost-of-living, but she said the Government remained committed to the Bill’s objectives.

Ms Debbonaire asked if the Transport Bill will also be scrapped, saying: “Could the Leader confirm if this is true? Is the Government planning to break yet another promise to the British people? Is there any government actually taking place?

“Whether it’s the NHS or procurement, schools or transport, this government’s incompetence and chaos knows no bounds. Their inability to govern is quite literally bringing this country to a grinding halt. Nothing is working and it’s on them.”

Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt rejected Labour’s characterisation of the Government’s performance.

Cabinet meeting
Leader of the House of Commons Penny Mordaunt (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

“I know that everyone is pulling together to ensure that a full statement can be made available to the opposition and to all members of this House, and I will certainly be following that up.”

Addressing the shadow Commons leader’s criticism, Ms Mordaunt said: “I would just also question the honourable lady’s characterisation of this government.

“This week alone we have had £500 million for schools and colleges in England to spend on energy efficiency upgrades, an additional £50 million top-up to the homelessness prevent grant, bringing the total grant to £366 million, the launch of our first helpline for victims of rape and sexual abuse, and the new elective recovery taskforce, as well as announcements on gas imports, on new freeports being set up, and the royal assent to four bills.

“Further business will be announced in the usual way.”

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