It seems as though the Government under Mrs May is suffering a number of challenges and has even conceded some defeats in the last few days. All of these elements arise as things which she could legitimately lay at the door of David Cameron and are all issues which I have written about over the last year or two. It is a bit late in the day for these things to be attributed to her own leadership but they could point to the emergence of a political spring in Westminster if they are followed through by people who should in principle be able to stop the Government from doing so many things wrong and which could be a breath of fresh air for all of us.
Last March the Government began to consult on a proposal to remove mandatory health checks from young families. Thankfully the findings by Public Health England have revealed that all stakeholder groups, commissioners, providers and professionals want these checks to remain mandatory. The Department of Health has now been forced to confirm that local authorities will continue delivering health checks whose mandatory requirements ended this month. Public health minister Nicola Blackwood said: “Health visitors support families to give children the best possible start in life, that’s why we have taken strong action to making these services mandatory across the country.”
Then there is another area where the Government has already signaled a U turn in the requirement for all early years trainees to have GCSEs in Maths and English. This is of course a perfectly good aspiration for such workers and if they wish to move up to more senior levels within the work of child care they will certainly need to have such qualifications. However the barrier of access to these roles meant that the industry was facing an enormous challenge in recruitment on top of the other challenges it is facing in covering its costs.
Then there is the battle currently taking place over contentious elements of the Childrens and Social Work Bill. The Government wants the power to grant freedom to Councils to ignore laws formed to protect children in their care. This element of the Bill was rejected by the Lords and has now been reinserted by a Committee in the House of Commons despite opposition by Labour members of the Committee. However one of the experts who the Government had been claiming supported their plans, Eileen Munro whose work has been cited as one of the main inspirations for the Bill as a whole has now announced that she is not supportive of this element of it. This places the Government in a tougher position as they attempt to get this legislation passed. Let us hope that the combination of the House of Lords and the opposition by Ms Munro will lead to a defeat on this element of the Bill which is deeply flawed.
This then brings us to the latest set of challenges being faced by Mrs May and her team of Brexiteers. As has been widely reported she has been defeated by the House of Lords in her attempt to achieve a Brexit without scrutiny and without offering security to EU residents. She is now forced to decide if she should accept the Lords amendments or overturn there votes. However there are indications that MPs on both sides of the house who initially supported the passage of the Brexi bill in the House of Commons may be less willing to defeat the Lords amendments than they were to support the amendments their own colleagues proposed. Let us hope they have the courage to vote against the Government so we get a better outcome from last years referendum.