15 Days In, 15 Failures Already
Theresa May has only been Prime Minister of the UK for 15 days and she is already racking up a heady list of mistakes and failures.
Despite her warm words and focus on social justice and fairness on becoming PM, the reality is that she has spent the last 6 years at the heart of a failing Government that has driven through measures such as tax relief for millionaires while slashing public spending and welfare. Her new cabinet is the most right wing for years and even includes disgraced former ministers who were forced to resign from previous governments.
These failures are only a taste of what's to come. I will continue to hold the new PM and her Government to account and I hope these emails are useful to helping you do the same.
15 Days, 15 Failures
The Prime Minister's record during her first 15 days...
Scrapping the Department for Energy and Climate Change.
One of Theresa May's very first acts as Prime Minster was to scrap the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC). The clear downgrading of climate change as a priority for this Government is a very worrying sign. Now more than ever it is crucial that climate change is at the top of national and international agendas and our low carbon targets become ever more ambitious. There is no sign Theresa May is committed to the Green agenda.
Appointing a policy chief who wants to scrap employment rights.
Last week the PM made George Freeman MP head of her new policy board and said he would 'help shape the new Government's programme'. Freeman's role at the head of government policy could mean very scary things for the future. He has previously advocated for scrapping employee rights at new firms, scrapping green energy subsidies and wants a regional minimum wage.
Appointing Liam Fox to the Cabinet.
Liam Fox, the new International Trade Secretary, was forced to resign in disgrace from his role as Defence Secretary in 2011 when it was revealed that he had allowed his close friend Adam Werrity to work as an unofficial 'adviser' to him, including being "present at meetings Mr Fox had with military figures, diplomats and defence contractors." Fox has also called gay marriage 'social engineering', called for NHS spending cuts and proposed scrapping Britain's 0.7% aid contribution.
Allowing Liam Fox to begin clumsy and inept negotiations.
In addition to appointing Fox to the Cabinet, the PM has allowed Fox to blunder ahead trying to negotiate trade deals before we have even triggered Article 50. His overtures to America resulted in American Trade representative Michael Froman having to release a statement making clear it was not possible to negotiate any deals while the future relationship of the EU and the UK are being worked out. By pressing for a deal with America despite EU expressly forbidding so Fox has damaged our negotiating hand and our likelihood of getting a good deal from the EU.
Appointing Boris Johnson to the Cabinet.
It was just a month ago that Theresa May taunted the fact that last time Boris Johnson did any kind of negotiating with the Germans he came back with a 3 nearly new water cannons. Having touted lies during the EU campaign about the money that would flow into the NHS if we left Europe, and having insulted half the countries around the world, Boris has now been appointed our Foreign Secretary. He has previously referred to black people as 'piccaninnies' and said that they 'have lower IQs'. He is not someone who should be Britain's representative on the world stage.
Appointing Andrea Leadsom to the Cabinet.
Andrea Leadsom has been appointed to the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, a role she is totally unsuited to given her support for Fox Hunting.
Appointing Priti Patel to the Cabinet.
Despite saying previously that she thought the whole department should be scrapped, Priti Patel is now our new Secretary of State for International Development. She's previously called employment rights 'a burden' and said she wants to scrap them.
Appointing David Davis to the Cabinet.
David Davis is our new Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union. He has previously described winter fuel payments for poor elderly people 'gimmicks', expressed concern about legislation for equal pay for women and said he wasn't convinced about maternity and paternity leave.
Scrapping the Minister for Refugees.
This week it emerged that Theresa May has scrapped the post of Minister for Refugees. If it wasn't already clear through her adamant opposition to the Dubbs amendment that the PM has little sympathy with the plight of refugees, this makes it certain. At a time when thousands of child refugees are alone or missing in Europe Britain should be doing everything possible to up their importance in our own Government, not downgrade it.
Considering scrapping the Government's Anti-Corruption Champion.
The Government confirmed last week that the new PM is considering scrapping the role of the Government's Anti-Corruption Champion. Over the last 50 years Africa, the poorest part of the world, has lost more than $1 trillion to corruption - more than the entire aid budget it has received during the same time period. Much of this corruption is facilitated through the financial secrecy and tax havens of Britain's offshore territories. If Theresa May is serious about being an “outward-looking and globally-minded and big-thinking country” it is vital she does not scrap the role of the Anti-Corruption Champion.
Allowing the Government to dump all their bad news on the last day before summer recess.
Just hours before Parliament broke up for summer the Government released 300 documents in an attempt to bury a tonne of bad news under a tonne of paperwork. The bad news ranges from 57,000 Bedroom Tax victims falling behind on rent, a Saudi diplomat bringing 'a slave' to Britain and nursing bursaries definitely being axed. Read more on it by clicking here.
Not shutting the door on the prospect of new grammar schools.
Justine Greening, the new Secretary of State for Education, has not firmly ruled out the possibility of the law against new grammar schools opening being overturned. Nothing warrants going back to the days where children were branded failures at age 11 and we had a two tier education system. If There May is serious about the social justice and opportunity she spoke about outside Downing Street she must firmly stamp out any possibility of grammars making a come back.
Downgrading the Minister for Care.
Despite an impending care crisis with our population growing older and older, Theresa May has downgraded responsibility over caring to a Parliamentary Under Secretary. Social care will be a huge issue going forward and it is a mistake to allow it to float down the political agenda.
Allowing tuition fees to go up.
Last week universities announced the first rise in their fees since fees were trebled in 2012 by the coalition government.
Cutting school budgets
The new Education Secretary herself, Justine Greening, has said that schools could face cuts of up to 1.5% per pupil next year. This is on top of an already underfunded and overstretched schools system being pushed to breaking point by the last Tory government.
As a member of the Shadow Cabinet and National Executive Committee I’m always keen to hear your views and suggestions about our campaigning work against the Tories, or on any other issues. If you've any thoughts about how we are doing, or how we could do better, please do get in touch with my office.