There are always challenges in organisations where the person theoretically in charge of events or policies is assumed to be getting heavily involved in every element of the tasks. I have spent nearly 15 years working with a local police force as an Independent Advisor and because of the way in which that role works, I have met a significant number of senior officers. Their knowledge of the details of what is going on in their organisation is generally very good, but when things take place, their role is usually some distance from the actual work on the ground. It is inevitable that the same is true of our Government, with Prime Ministers responsible for pulling diverse departments together and in doing so to present a coherent sense of purpose and clarity of where the nation is heading or how the nation is dealing with a challenge. However when the chips are down one would assume that a Prime Minister would ensure that they were present in the place where their role is vital, the House of Commons in the debating Chamber. Yesterday while Theresa May was travelling across Europe to attempt to place a wee bit more icing on a cake that is clearly in a terrible state of collapse, David Lidington her no 2 in such issues made this statement
“I think it is perhaps worth reminding him [Jeremy Corbyn] and the House that in the last two months alone, my right hon. Friend [Theresa May] has spent more than 22 hours at this Dispatch Box making statements and answering questions from right hon. and hon. Members in every corner of this House, predominantly about the question of EU exit and the deal that she negotiated”
Now it may make sense to David and indeed his colleagues and even the members of the whole House of Commons that in a two month period, it is extensive for any Prime Minister to spend 22 hours at the despatch box. Assuming that each month there were 4 PMQs that would surely account for around 8 hours over a two month period. That then leaves 14 hours over that period which fell outside of the PMQs so around 7 hours a month or just under 2 hours a week. It is little wonder that our Government is so ill capable of achieving a great deal when the Prime Minister spends so little time attempting to resolve matters of such great urgency. What we need is a major change to our Parliamentary structure. This is clearly not good enough!