Barry Gardiner – 2022 Speech in the No Confidence in the Government Motion

The speech made by Barry Gardiner, the Labour MP for Brent North, in the House of Commons on 18 July 2022.

Former Conservative Cabinet colleagues are publicly accusing each other of economic incompetence, of negligence in preventing fraud and even of being a Liberal Democrat, yet after defenestrating their party leader because they had no confidence in him, Conservative Members have decided to leave the man in place as Prime Minister of this Government. As a result, the public have no confidence in them. That is clear because the Government refuse to call a general election, as they have no confidence that they would win it.

The 6.6 million people waiting for treatment in the NHS have no confidence in this Government. The parents of the 350,000 children on that waiting list have no confidence in them. The 50,000 imaginary nurses currently housed in the 40 presumably non-existent hospitals have no confidence in them either. The taxpayers paying the highest level of tax for 70 years and facing the highest inflation in 40 years have no confidence that this Government have the ability to tackle the record £2 trillion of debt, the highest peacetime debt the UK has ever seen.

The victims of crime who have watched crime rise by 18% while prosecutions fall have no confidence in this Government. The people awaiting their passports because of the chaos in the Home Office have no confidence that they will be able to travel abroad for either business or a family holiday. The refugees who have a well-founded fear of persecution in Syria or Afghanistan have no confidence that they will not be deported to a country where they have no family and no connection. Women and girls have no confidence that this Government, with their inability to properly tackle sexual predation in their own ranks, will deal with the violence against them. Minority communities who experience racial profiling and have been outraged as police shared racist photos among themselves have no confidence that this Government will press for real reform.

The families and friends of the 72 who died in Grenfell Tower have no confidence that, five years on, this Government have acted to make others safe. The 2 million families depending on food banks to feed their children have no confidence that this Government understand what it means to see their children go to bed hungry. The 5.5 million public sector workers whose real-terms wages have stagnated and declined in the past 12 years have no confidence that they can continue to pay their rent, with 9% inflation eroding their pay still further. A blind eye has been turned to jobs for sexual favours, to ministerial bullying, to crony contracts and to wine time Fridays—although people did ask “WTF?”—yet this Prime Minister wants to stay on as caretaker. Ponder that word. Is there any word in the entire English language that describes this Prime Minister less than “caretaker”? He is a reckless narcissist, and nobody inside or outside this Chamber should have confidence in his Government.