Parliament has only been back in business for just over a week. But that’s all the time needed for Theresa May’s government to fall flat on its face. Two opposition motions have been passed without a vote, after the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) indicated it would back Labour’s plans. And while the motions do not commit May’s government to making any changes, they show exactly how shaky May’s coalition of chaos is.
Pay rise for the NHS
Theresa May and the Tories are running scared. They know they don’t have the votes and her MPs know that they are on the wrong side of the issue.
The Prime Minister is in office but not in power.
And it didn’t take long before May faced her second humiliating defeat. On the same day, her government also withdrew its opposition to a motion to prevent an increase in tuition fees.
Since the Conservatives came to power in 2010, university fees have trebled. And they are set to continue rising with inflation. This means a rise from £9,000 to £9,250 this term. But as Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner pointed out:
It’s not about the debt… it’s whether or not you are going to hike another £250 a year, over a thousand pounds over the lifetime of a course, that students will be on and making it unsustainable for students and completely unfair, that is the choice that members have to make today.
Answer the bloody question
Meanwhile, May was criticised after she seemingly refused to give any proper answers to the questions posed to her during Prime Minister’s Questions. And it led to Ian Blackford, Westminster Leader for the Scottish National Party, to wonder:
I was under the impression that this was questions to the PM.
But given that May is presiding over a government with no real power, it’s perhaps unsurprising that she has no answers. The Conservatives’ ‘confidence and supply’ agreement with the DUP only covers the budget, Brexit, and national security. And the indications from the DUP that it will support opposition motions show just how shaky this agreement is when it comes to all other governmental functions.
While May and her cronies are clearly on shaky ground, these motions still have no real power. So whether it is students crippled by debt or nurses relying on food banks, these motions will not necessarily provide any meaningful change.
But they do show a weak government in chaos, hanging on to power by the skin of its teeth. And it’s time we all demanded that it moves aside. We can then have a government that actually delivers real change for the people suffering in this country.
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