Gerald Jones – 2022 Speech in the No Confidence in the Government Motion

The speech made by Gerald Jones, the Labour MP for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney, in the House of Commons on 18 July 2022.

The very fact that we are having a debate on a motion tabled by the Government on the Government’s confidence in themselves shows how out of touch with reality they really are. Just 10 days ago, many Government Members were writing open letters to the Prime Minister telling him that they had no confidence in him. Nothing has changed—we still have the same Prime Minister in Downing Street, leading this Government—so I do not know how on earth they are able in all good conscience to vote for this motion this evening. It is bizarre.

We all know that the Prime Minister is unfit for office. Government Members all know it too, but rather than remove him from the position immediately, they have left him in No. 10 at a time when the country needs honest and respected leadership—something that he seems unable to offer. Last week, the Government blocked Labour’s vote of no confidence, and that was after the resignation of more than 50 members of the Prime Minister’s Front-Bench team. In blocking that vote and creating today’s spectacle, it is clear that the Prime Minister has only ever been interested in doing what is right for his own ego, rather than for the good of the country.

Many of the Prime Minister’s former allies resigned from his Cabinet, but rather than remove him, they are indulging in fantasy economics in the leadership contest, distracting themselves from the chaos facing the country with party infighting, and attempting to disassociate themselves from their time in the Prime Minister’s Cabinet of chaos. The Conservative leadership candidates are also trying to wipe the slate clean after 12 years of Conservative rule, but on their watch taxes are going up, food and energy bills are spiralling out of control, crime is rising, and many of the public services we rely on have simply stopped working.

The Prime Minister is squatting in No. 10, presiding over a zombie Government, while the country is gripped by a spiralling cost of living crisis and worsening backlogs caused by his Government’s economic policies and political failures. In just the last few days, I have spoken to constituents who are living through the Government’s cost of living crisis. A couple I met who are both in full-time employment get to the middle of the month and have to rely on the local food pantry to support them in putting food on the table for them and their young child. That is utterly depressing and shameful. Another couple told me that they visit the local baths at least three times a week for a swim at a reduced rate, thanks to the Welsh Government. That is great news for their health and wellbeing, but they also use it as an opportunity to have a shower to save on water and heating costs at home. We should not be normalising this in the 21st century.

We should have a Prime Minister and a Government who focused on dealing with these issues and others that are causing great hardship across the country. Instead, we have more chaos, which is why I simply have no confidence in the Government. Since the Prime Minister announced his intention to resign on 7 July, the Government have dropped legislation and called off a number of Bill Committees on issues of the utmost importance, from protecting people online and fraud to national security and levelling up. That is a direct consequence of the chaos engulfing the Government at this moment.

The country does not need a fourth Conservative Prime Minister in six years. Britain needs a fresh start and a Labour Government, which is why we will vote against the Government’s motion this evening.