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UK Government ‘coming apart’ says Welsh Labour MP after Michael Gove says it is ‘simply not functioning’

20 Jul 2022 3 minute read
Picture by the Policy Exchange (CC BY 2.0).

A Welsh Labour MP has said that the UK Government is “coming apart at the seams” after former levelling up minister Michael Gove admitted that it was “simply not functioning”.

Michael Gove who was sacked as levelling up secretary by Boris Johnson earlier this month, made the surprise admission at a Policy Exchange event.

The UK Government was failing to deliver “certain essential functions” and some services were “simply at the moment not functioning”, he said.

He pointed to delays in producing the essential documents at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and the Passport Office as examples.

Torfaen MP Nick Thomas-Symonds said that Michael Gove’s comments chimed with what he was seeing in his constituency.

“This is exactly what we are seeing in Torfaen,” he said. “People’s travel plans in chaos – feeling like their summer holidays will be ruined – by the Conservatives making a complete mess of such a basic service.

“It’s a sure sign of a Government coming apart at the seams,” he said.

‘Fallen apart’

Michael Gove however said that the problems weren’t altogether the fault of ministers and that there were big problems with how the UK Government functioned.

“There are some core functions, giving you your passport, giving your driving licence, which is simply at the moment not functioning,” he said.

He also raised “bureaucratic impediments” on broader issues such as defence procurement.

“We are no longer providing people, either with the efficient delivery of services or the effective focus on what the state should do,” he said.

“I think that’s because we have become a Government and an administration that is knocked off course by powerful stories that are told by people with a mission – and our own sense of mission has not been strong enough to resist that.”

‘Fundamentally wrong’

After more than 12 years in Government, some critics have blamed the Conservatives for the problems but Lord Frost, the former Brexit minister, sought to apportion some blame to civil servants.

“We’re always told that we have a Rolls-Royce and the problem is that ministers don’t make their will clear,” he told the discussion.

“Well, ministers made their will clear about coming back into the office several months ago and yet it is still not happening. So I believe there is something very fundamentally wrong in the way the Civil Service and the state is working.”

But Baroness Cavendish, a former director of No 10’s policy unit, was angered by his remarks, instead criticising ministers.

“There are people on this panel who have been in government for the past few years and under you guys this stuff has fallen apart – so why haven’t you done anything about it?” she said.

The Passport Office has previously blamed its backlog on more than five million people delaying their applications because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Cathy Jones
Cathy Jones
1 year ago

The thing si Gove was part of the government that made the mess, so kudos for being honest, but a) we already know that and B) you helped make this omnishambles so STFU… As for Frosty The No Man, he wanders into wherever it is they keep the civil servants and says “I want a unicorn, a T-rex and a blancmange in the shape of the concept of sovereignty and a pat on the head for being a special boy” and these are all things that cannot happen. The things Lord Frost wants are not achievable in this reality. So… Read more »

1 year ago

All too easy for this incompetent government to blame civil servants for problems caused by funding shortfalls, but my nephew had his new driving licence back in 2 days last week.

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
1 year ago
Reply to  HywelE3

I bought a car on July 10th and had the new registration document back on July 18th. The DVLA IS working but nice of Govey to admit his incompetent government isn’t. They are just beating up civil servants and preparing them for redundancy.

1 year ago

It is easy to see where it went wrong, austerity was the word they used to underfund just about everything. Then waste about 100 billion, 8.7 written off for failed PPE, 37 on failed test and trace, 4.3 in Covid help fraud, million upon millions in wasted on Brexit check warehouses, that have not been used, crossrail 4 billion over budget, the list goes on, and Frost blames the workers.

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
1 year ago

The interesting claim today is that of Sunak pledging “energy sovereignty” in England so we can stop exporting one third of the electricity Wales generates or are we stll a colony?

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
1 year ago

‘……but Lord Frost, the former Brexit minister, sought to apportion some blame to civil servants’.

What a surprise. Tories blaming others for the mess they have created!

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