View from Westminster: ‘COVID, Brexit – Johnson and his incompetent team’

Admin (16 September, 2020)

By Neil Coyle – MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark

18677Bermondsey and Old Southwark MP Neil Coyle

Southwark’s rising Covid infection rate is increasingly a cause for concern.

It is paramount you and your family continue to look out for one another and take every precaution to try and prevent the spread, especially in the face of repeat Government failures to provide sufficient testing capacity or to contact people known to have been in pubs with someone found to have Covid.

These basic functions of Government, which are about keeping us all safe and could also help build public confidence in getting back to work or knowing children are protected at school, have been neglected by Johnson and his incompetent team.

Not that Johnson or his team ever take responsibility, as we’ve seen for months. Instead of telling us when he and his Education Secretary first knew about the problems with exam results, the Prime Minister tried to blame it on a ‘mutant algorithm’ when his team were aware of but failed to change it in time to ensure your children and grandchildren were not let down.

When people in Southwark are told to travel to ‘walk-in’ centres in Scotland for Covid tests, they blame it on too many people taking tests in London instead of focusing on boosting capacity in our capital and most populous city.

In my role on the Work and Pensions Select Committee I have seen the Government fail to take responsibility for continual Universal Credit problems.

Ministers’ latest response to our recommendations ignored nineteen suggestions, including trying to restore help to people who had support cut during the Covid crisis. DWP is trying to shirk responsibility, typifying the least responsible Government we have ever seen.

When we were all told to stay home, we know Johnson let his special advisor Dominic Cummings off the hook for driving hundreds of miles to ‘test his eyesight’ in Barnard Castle.

The Tory claim to be the ‘party of law and order’ is dead. We know Johnson lied to the public and to Her Majesty when he unlawfully prorogued Parliament, but for a UK Prime Minister to now tell our country and the world openly that his Government will break the law is his most shameful act yet and undermines our credibility internationally  in a way not seen since Eden’s calamitous term in the 1950s.

Johnson’s excuse is that he did not understand his own legislation last year when he claimed he had ‘got Brexit done’. Brexit is not done and he should never have patronised people with such a simplistic approach.

Brexit continues to divide and risk the future of the United Kingdom and to divide our country from our allies, with the US now signalling there will be no future trade deal.

In contrast, our local council here in Southwark has stepped up during this crisis and led for London under Councillor Peter John. I would again like to publicly acknowledge his real leadership throughout the pandemic and last decade stewarding our council as it faced year after year of cuts from Cameron, Clegg, May and Johnson, as well as an increased workload as a result of national Ministers’ failures and irresponsibility.

Peter John is now stepping down as Leader and deserves our thanks and best wishes. I welcome Councillor Kieron Williams as the new leader and look forward to working with him and his whole team.


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