Boris Johnson hangs on in there as Prime Minister until the Tories, all 150,000 of them, decide who our new PM should be. It’s not a great way to choose a nation’s leader and neither candidate looks ready for this crucial office.
Some in the Conservative Party want Mr Johnson to stay so I thought it worth looking at his record before they make that choice.
I asked Boris Johnson in Parliament the other week about his levelling up agenda because so few people in the North believe it is happening. I did tell him specifically that the promise around upgrading TransPennine rail services should have seen it finished by 2019. In practice it will not be with us until 2030 at the earliest. He gave me no answer.
I could have asked him why our NHS has 50,000 nurse and midwife and 12,000 doctor positions unfilled, why our Ambulance service is in crisis.
I could have asked him why we have not invested in home energy insulation measures before the energy crisis began which would have saved household budgets and been good for Global Warming.
I could have asked him what his government is doing to stop the energy companies making record and eye-watering profits as they benefit from the global energy crisis by ripping off their customers. If the government had acted it could have saved us all money and in the middle of a cost of living crisis would have been the right thing to do.
I could have asked him about the chaos in our passport office and families not getting their passports in time for holidays when any fool would have known that a lot of people would apply for new passports after Covid.
I could have asked him why he did not get Brexit done as he promised pointing out that problems in Northern Ireland could spin over into a massively damaging trade war with our biggest trading partner in the EU. Or years after the Brexit referendum, we’ve still got ridiculous queues at our southern ports blocking people going on holiday and blocking our vital trade.
In fact whatever I’d have asked him I would not have got a straight answer. The truth is Mr Johnson was never up to the job of being Prime Minister. He likes the showman’s role but he doesn’t like the work. So I’ll probably not ask him a question again. The worrying thing is, his successor may be just as incapable of answering these questions.
This article was originally published in the Rochdale Observer on 30 July 2022.