Eddie Mair 4pm - 7pm
'Weak' opposition responsible for govt slip in standards, Tory MP confesses
18 December 2021, 13:13
This Conservative MP suggests an ineffective opposition has led the government to believe they can do what they want unchallenged.
"Nobody has a clue about what Boris Johnson's conservatism is all about" Andrew Castle put to Conservative MP Bob Blackman.
His comments came in the aftermath of the Conservative's monumental defeat at the North Shropshire by-election, where the government lost a seat held for 200 years to the Lib Dems.
Andrew offered a reason for the historic loss: "There are millions of these things piling up and people just don't see the leadership."
Mr Blackman rejected the idea of a lack of leadership, pointing out that the Conservatives enjoyed a record-breaking general election win only two years ago.
Andrew pointed out a main reason for the win may have been the unpopularity of the then Labour leader. The Tory MP elaborated on the idea of a weak opposition in Labour.
"One of the issues in parliament right now is that there's no opposition!" He claimed.
"It comes from Conservative ranks to hold government to account. the opposition we have in the chamber is very weak."
Mr Blackman went on to insist that the PM "needs a strong opposition to keep him on his mettle, and that's something we can't control."
He said that an effective opposition will "keep the government on its toes" but that is currently lacking.
Mr Blackman cited the lockdown and remote working for MPs as the beginning of a slip in standards: "It's very difficult to hold the government to account when you're doing that and ministers have gotten used to the fact that they can more or less do what they want to do."