Leaders: Job vacancy - someone to lead the UK Government

Brexit campaigner Boris Johnson is expected to run for leader of the Conservative Party to become PM. Picture: AFP/Getty Images
Brexit campaigner Boris Johnson is expected to run for leader of the Conservative Party to become PM. Picture: AFP/Getty Images
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The aftermath of the referendum sees internecine warfare rage in the corridors of Westminster with no-one willing to take control

At a time of national crisis the public expects those it has democratically elected to high office to take command and look after the country’s best interests, both at home and on the world stage.

But instead of a Prime Minister stepping up to the mark, or a leader of the Opposition working constructively to outline an alternative vision, there is now a vacuum of leadership in the Westminster Government which is absolutely remarkable.

Last Thursday’s referendum has produced a tumultuous situation with great consequences for everyone, with the aftershocks continuing to hit the country. But from approximately 8:15am on Saturday no-one appears to want to lead the country. A number of high-profile politicians swiftly retreated to the countryside, or even Glastonbury, rather than facing up to the unfolding drama.

In his emotional resignation speech Mr Cameron said he was staying on until October. This has been interpreted by some as a device to ensure key Brexiteer Boris Johnson does not become the next prime minister, while others say it is a bid to steady the markets.

However, Mr Cameron’s continued presence is not settling the markets as the value of the pound has fallen and a number of global businesses have indicated they may relocate thousands of employees outside the UK. Mr Johnson today said the pound was stable, on a day where it hit a 31-year low.

Surely he cannot become prime minister of this nation. Mr Johnson should return to his village, which is no doubt missing him.

There is now an urgent need for someone to step up to the mark and do something to ensure the country does not continue rudderless – that is what unsettles both the population and the markets. Graham Brady MP, chairman of the influential 1922 Committee, has said the process to select a new leader of the Tory party could be speeded up, with nominations opening tomorrow and closing at noon on Thursday, and a new leader in Downing Street by 2 September.

But that is still not quick enough – what the country now needs is for Mr Cameron to disappear into the history books and an interim leader to be appointed to guide the country and the process of leaving the EU and getting a new prime minister.

Equally, it is clear Jeremy Corbyn cannot remain as Labour’s leader. If there was any leadership in him whatsoever he would realise that in the best interests of the country his party needs a new strong leader that can unite it and play a responsible part in extricating the country from the mess in which it now finds itself.

Whatever the political persuasion, true leadership is knowing the time to leave the stage and let other people take over.

It seems no-one at Westminster is either capable of leading the country or wants to step up and take charge. We cannot be allowed to drift with a zombie government looking on at the wreckage; there is a lot to be done but the first stage is for Westminster to sort itself out and get back to work, and quickly.

Exposing wrong means speaking up

When the details of the Mortonhall babies’ ashes scandal came to light there was a feeling of horror at the distress endured by the bereaved parents and families.

But now as Dame Elish Angiolini’s report is released it is clear that if the practices at

Mortonhall crematorium had not been exposed the unethical procedures at other such establishments across Scotland would not have come out.

No time should be wasted whatsoever to ensure it does not happen again.

That crematorium staff knew what was going on is not the entire issue.

There would have been those who felt it was wrong to deny the parents the chance to have their babies’ ashes to try to find some sort of peace and closure.

While others may well have seen procedures as custom and practice and did not want to add to the pain of those who had lost a tiny baby. But the truth will always come out, and with it anger at the lies and cover-up.

The fundamental principle at stake is that people must understand that they need to do the right thing, even when no-one is looking.

This translates into protecting any whistle-blower who has the courage to risk losing their job and speak up and expose a wrong.

For this information to be translated into effective action there needs to be individual, rather than corporate responsibility, in the management of local authorities.

But too often what starts out as a clearly voiced warning from frontline staff is translated into inaction further up the line.

This report must bring this sad and harrowing chapter to an end and hopefully bring peace to the families who lost their babies.