It has been a long time coming, Mr Speaker.
I say with some humility to Mr Seely that this really is not the afternoon for Conservative Members to talk about motions of no confidence. Not only did more than half their Back Benchers declare no confidence in the Prime Minister and her leadership, but this afternoon is about confidence in the Government. He should be defending the Government’s record.
This debate is not just about gross inequality and what is happening to the very poorest in our society. Nine years ago, we were told we had to tighten our belt, that things would be hard and that difficult choices would have to be made, and the majority of people believed and accepted that and voted in the way they thought best. Nine years on, it is the experience of people who use and rely on our public services that things are demonstrably worse than they were nine years ago. Our schools are less well funded than they were when Labour left office, with per pupil funding down by 8% and teachers walking out of the profession in droves.
Some 2.5 million more people are waiting longer than four hours in accident and emergency departments and the number of people waiting more than two months for cancer treatments has doubled. Furthermore—and unbelievably, from a Conservative Government—people in my constituency are describing a state of lawlessness because the Government have cut the Metropolitan police to the bone: more than £1 billion of funding cuts; the loss of 21,000 police officers, almost 7,000 police community support officers and 15,000 police staff; officer numbers at their lowest levels for 30 years; and the highest rises in crime in a decade.
It is no wonder that this afternoon Conservative Members do not want to stand up and defend the record of this Government. It is not a record they can defend. It is now right—in fact, it is past time—to acknowledge that the Government have lost control of Parliament and their ability to govern and have lost the confidence of the British people. It is time for Conservative Members to do the right thing and declare, as we will, no confidence in Her Majesty’s Government.