General election can’t come soon enough for chaotic zombie parliament

Rishi Sunak’s Government is braced for yet another by-election.

Chris Pincher has stepped down as an MP, prompting yet another by-election. Ignoring the idea that someone widely known to behave inappropriately was allowed to cling on for so long, this will mark the 19th time a seat has been contested since the 2019 general election, almost double those of the previous term.This, along with two Prime Ministers short of a five-a-side team, around 18 Keir Starmer U-turns, and a new SNP Westminster leader who hates the Labour party perhaps more than the Tories, makes it abundantly clear – these are not the parties people voted for.

Gone is Boris Johnson’s plan for social care, gone is his flagship fund to rejuvenate towns, and gone is most of the economy after Liz Truss got to try being Prime Minister, just to see what happened.In their place is a Government led by Rishi Sunak, a man ready to steady the ship, we are told, which judging by the polls means veering it all over the place until it crashes ferociously into the electorate.Since coming in with a promise to clean up his act, Mr Sunak has been sanctioned by police for not wearing a seatbelt, ordered to apologise for not disclosing that his wife would benefit from his policies, and had more ministers forced to resign than the Lib Dems have MPs.There is no consistency, no coherent plan for change, just a sad bank manager smiling meekly and insisting things are fine and making occasional promises to bring Thatcher back to life (or whatever else he thinks might take him to within 20 points of Labour).

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This lack of direction damages not just the role of Prime Minister, but departments as well, with most senior cabinet positions having a rotating door, as new ideas and policies are promised by ministers who are ejected before they can say “cut red tape”. Sure, allowing Grant Shapps to try every department is a boost to the CV of his alias “Michael Green”, but it doesn’t allow for good government. In a time of national crisis, you can’t turn things around in three months, no matter how much damage Ms Truss managed in six weeks.

Instead, everyone is treading water for the next election, pretending to look busy while the nation burns. Jeremy Hunt, brought in to be a sensible and serious Chancellor, delayed cuts to budgets until after the next election, ensuring it is perhaps not his problem.Labour, knowing they are more likely than not to be the next government, fail to say anything at all, trusting that not having set the country on fire means it doesn’t matter if they don’t promise a hose.The public are crying out for reassurance, for hope, or answers as to exactly what is going to happen with net zero, energy bills, and the cost of living.Instead, it’s another by-election, the eye of Westminster narrowing on to the people of Tamworth, Mid Bedfordshire, who join those in Rutherglen and Hamilton West in going to the polls. Meanwhile the rest of the country watches on, with MPs unable to keep track of what they’re supposed to believe.This is not just a zombie government, it’s a zombie parliament, desperately in need of certainty, policies and a plan.



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