The speech made by Stephen Kinnock, the Labour MP for Aberavon, in the House of Commons on 18 July 2022.
The winner of the current leadership contest will be the fourth Conservative Prime Minister since 2016. The Conservatives really have turned government into a game of musical chairs, to the point where the world’s oldest political party is not a credible or coherent organisation at all. It is a coalition of chaos led by a Prime Minister who embodies the vacuum of moral purpose at its heart.
They say that a fish rots from its head, but let us not forget that every single Conservative Member is complicit. They propped him up and defended the indefensible, so the entire fish is rotten. That is why it makes no difference who wins this leadership contest, and it is why a general election, and a fresh start with a Labour Government is the only viable option for our country.
We cannot in all good conscience allow this man, a man who put our national security at risk by holding clandestine meetings with a former KGB officer, to carry on squatting in Downing Street over the summer. This zombie Government are set to limp on in parallel with the frankly embarrassing leadership contest, which not even the candidates want to see played out in public. They are dodging scrutiny, and no wonder. They are offering hundreds of billions of pounds in unfunded tax cuts, but nothing for the millions of families who will face a choice between eating and heating this autumn. There is not a word on boosting productivity or driving the modern manufacturing renaissance that our country so desperately needs, and no mention whatsoever of the Conservative party’s backlog Britain, with the Passport Office in meltdown, A&E queues off the scale, courts mired in delays and a broken asylum system costing the taxpayer £4.7 million a day.
Backlog Britain is not simply the result of the Government’s failure to plan for the end of lockdown. The multiple system failures we now see are the result of 12 years of Tory incompetence and indifference. Growth, investment and productivity have stagnated since 2010, and our public services have been hollowed out, leaving our country profoundly lacking in the resilience we needed to weather the covid storm. The Government’s failure to invest has impacted on our national finances, on workers’ pay packets and on our public services, and it has left our private sector vulnerable to major shocks such as the pandemic, the war and the Prime Minister’s botched Brexit deal.
We should be in no doubt that authoritarian states such as China and Russia have been waiting in the wings, ready to pounce and to exploit our overexposed and vulnerable assets and supply chains. Labour has a plan to make, buy and sell more in Britain. After 12 years of a stagnating Tory economy, low growth and broken promises, we need a fresh start, not just a change at the top.