The appearance of Sajid Javid on Question Time on Thursday night from Watford showed how ill suited he is to be a Government Minister under the condition our nation faces as we must respond to the decision taken to leave the EU on 23rd June. This was a clear decision but it was also a close decision in percentage terms and a large proportion of the population voted to remain and many did not, or could not vote at all. We have many EU nationals living in the country working hard to maintain the good work of the NHS and many other public and private services, their need for clear signals is vital to our national wellbeing. This is a time when all Government Ministers are needed to seek to bring together the nation irrespective of their personal views and assist the transition to take place in a manner that is not damaging to our nations best interests. Javid showed he is not up to that task. He began with a slip of the tongue on the actual referendum:
“It was a clear result, clear instructions were issued to the British people”
This was quickly picked up by David Dimbleby but Javid went on to say that the the Court case was “a clear attempt to frustrate” the actions of politicians to get on with the instruction that had emerged from the referendum. Whilst he did not suggest this was the fault of the three judges, equally their judgement was to uphold the argument that was made by these ‘frustrators’. Later on when challenged about the apparent lack of a plan, he spoke out that “of course we have a plan, once the decision has been made, of course there is a plan” which is not a very slick way of addressing the question. However what makes that response so disturbing, is that it is perfectly clear that apart from the Treasury, no other Government departments did have a plan on 24th June and in any event there has been a major change of people in the Government who could sign off any plan, even if one had existed.
The problems with the Government do not end with Sajid Javid who clearly needs to spend some time on the backbenches. Liz Truss was dragged kicking and screaming to defend the judiciary and failed to do so, despite the headlines from a number of papers and the assertions from a number of politicians suggesting that our judges are politically biased in this case, it appears that the best she could offer was. “The independence of the judiciary is the foundation upon which our rule of law is built and our judiciary is rightly respected the world over for its independence and impartiality. In relation to the case heard in the high court, the government has made it clear it will appeal to the supreme court. Legal process must be followed.” It seems clear to me that her response is some distance away from the promise she made as indicated in the image above. Following this weeks other problem with the Ministry of Justice and their failure to address failings within the Prison Service means that in my view Ms Truss should go back to the backbenches too. Her promise to fully resource the courts is at best naive, based on the previous history not just of this Government but going back several decades. However as Chancellor she is also responsible for funding our prisons and our probation services. These are all in a state of chaos and her lack of interest in addressing these failures is very disturbing.
If these two people are to leave the Government the question is what about the Prime Minister herself. She was endorsed by MPs who had voted her onto a shortlist of two, and the members of her party were denied the opportunity to elect her because of the resignation from the contest of Andrea Leadsom. This failure to elect her in a meaningful way also puts her selection into a category that is at least as damaged as that of Gordon Brown in 2007. It was Theresa May amongst others who questioned his legitimacy at that time. Perhaps now is the time not just for a reshuffle, but something more fundamental.