Life is far from boring in and around Parliament thanks to the government’s haphazard approach to running our country.
Political mishaps happen almost daily, so much so that it’s sometimes hard to keep up.
As I sat down to prepare my weekly column for The Standard, a little-known but important Tory minister in the House of Lords dramatically resigned from the dispatch box. His reason: the government’s poor record in combating fraud in Coronavirus trade programs.
Lord Agnew, who was both Treasury and Cabinet minister, said the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy had shown ‘dismal’ oversight of COVID-19 loan schemes, which had resulted in large amounts of fraud.
He said the Treasury “seems to have no knowledge or little interest in the consequences of fraud on our economy or our society”, adding that a mixture of “arrogance, indolence and ignorance freezes the machinery of government”.
Earlier on Monday, evidence emerged of another Downing Street party – this time a birthday party for the Prime Minister – again at a time when lockdown measures were in place for everyone in England. There is no doubt that up to 30 employees gathered to sing Happy Birthday to their boss who was apparently there himself for a short time.
The birthday party would be the 17th such gathering for senior civil servant Sue Gray to consider in her critical so-called ‘partygate’ report for Parliament which will now be delayed because the Metropolitan Police are currently investigating what appears to be a number of potential criminal offenses at Downing St.
Trouble is mounting for Boris Johnson after he claimed Tory MP Nusrat Ghani was sacked as transport minister over concerns over his ‘Muslimness’. carried out the sacking on behalf of the Prime Minister – but it has already led to calls for an independent inquiry into Islamophobia within the Conservative Party.
Not to mention that another senior Tory figure, William Wragg, is due to meet police this week who are interested in his allegations of attempts to “blackmail” other Tory MPs. Mr Wragg accused Number 10 staff, special advisers and ministers of threatening to leak embarrassing stories about him and other MPs to the media if they did not support the Prime Minister.
It seems like an age since Christian Wakeford, the MP for Bury South, joined Labor after defecting from the Tories. Normally, the shock of this would reverberate around Westminster for weeks, but already due to the daily emergence of new allegations that already seem like old news. Speaking about his defection, Christian confirmed allegations of bullying within Tory ranks, saying he had been threatened not to get a new ‘levelling’ school in part of his constituency if he did not back the government . At Ellesmere Port and Neston, we know all about the ‘leveled’ disappointments having twice been turned down for government money for important projects; I have always thought that the decision to deny us money was made for partisan reasons and this news unfortunately confirms what I suspected.