It’s been an eventful week at Westminster as Downing Street descends into chaos in the wake of Sue Gray’s damning report into law-breaking at Number 10.
We have a British Prime Minister now under criminal investigation for breaking the very Covid rules he himself set. And clear evidence of multiple illegal lockdown parties which he repeatedly told parliament did not happen.
As I write this, Downing Street has also just been rocked by a series of high-profile resignations from Boris Johnson’s top team – including his longest serving advisor who has quit in protest at false statements made by the Prime Minister in parliament.
Who knows what further revelations the coming days and weeks will bring, but one thing for sure is that the Prime Minister’s coat is on a shoogly peg.
My inbox has been full of messages from constituents furious at Boris Johnson for trying to get away with lying to the public and misleading parliament. His days at Number 10 are clearly numbered, and if he had an ounce of integrity he would do the decent thing and resign now.
For every day he desperately clings on to power it’s a distraction from the pressing issues facing the country, including the worsening cost of living crisis for which his Westminster government is responsible.
Boris wants us to forget his broken promises that Brexit would bring cheaper energy bills and reduced food prices. Instead, families in West Dunbartonshire are being hammered by a 54% rise in energy bills and forced into food banks by a Tory government which seems to care little.
It was galling to hear the UK Chancellor – who happens to be a multi-millionaire – proclaim that struggling families will just ‘have to adjust’ in response to rising prices and soaring energy bills. I’m sure wealthy Tory Cabinet members don’t need to worry about topping up the meter, but for my constituents many now face the difficult choice between heating and eating.
In Dumbarton and across Scotland people are looking on in horror as Boris Johnson’s arrogant and out of touch government fails to do what’s needed to help struggling families.
Issuing of a one-off £200 loan payment to every UK household in October, as announced by the Chancellor, which needs paid back, isn’t going to cut it – not when we’re facing the biggest fall in living standards since records began.
Other countries like Norway and France are going much further to protect their citizens from being hammered by higher energy bills – through targeted subsidies, tax cuts and emergency payments.
A different path is possible, and if Westminster cannot get a grip on this crisis it shows why Scotland needs the full powers of a normal independent country.
This article was written for publication in the Dumbarton & Vale of Leven Reporter.