The New Year has seen considerable turmoil in parliament with the Prime Minister’s Brexit proposals being heavily defeated and a motion of no confidence tabled against the government.
A motion of no confidence in the government is a fairly rare event in parliament so it is no surprise that there were lots of MPs wanting to speak when we debated the issue.
We were all subject to strict time limits but at least I was lucky enough to be called while speakers were still being allocated five minutes rather than later when people were given four, and then three minutes.
I wanted to concentrate on the impact of the government’s policies on my constituents and to set out the impact on real people who I had met.
So I spoke about the working families who are forced to use food banks because they do not earn enough to keep their children fed, let alone to take them for a holiday or even a day out. I told of the women trapped in a one-bedroom flat with two children and the lady who cannot get the adaptations she needs.
You may not see these people because they are not ones to make a noise, but they are there. As I said in my speech these are not the feckless scroungers of popular imagination. They are people who go out to work, who accept responsibility and they are forgotten by this government. Add to that the thousands of police and prison officers who have lost their jobs, the failure to invest in the NHS and the impact on people is incalculable.
It cannot be right that people are left to struggle like this in the fifth richest country in the world. Nor is it right that our public services have been cut to the bone, that we have lost the police and prison officers, that councils in the poorest areas have suffered the deepest cuts or that NHS staff struggle to keep the service going without adequate funding.
We are building up a legacy of poor health, children not able to reach their full potential, a lack of decent, affordable housing and rising crime. All these things will have to be dealt with in the future and it will cost much more than dealing with them now.