Read Anum's full speech from the debate on a motion of censure over the behaviour of the Prime Minister:
Ms Anum Qaisar
(Airdrie and Shotts, SNP)
It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for East Surrey (Claire Coutinho). I commend her on reading her briefing notes so very well. She says that we in the SNP do not know the priorities of the Scottish people, but I gently remind her that the Tories do not win elections in Scotland.
Over the course of the pandemic, the UK’s economy has shrunk at the fastest rate for a century, and unemployment has grown to one of its highest rates. At the exact same time, Britain created a record number of billionaires. There are now 171 billionaires in this country. While the rich were getting richer, the poor were getting poorer. When this Tory Government should have been lending a hand to the most vulnerable in society, some of those on the Government Benches chose to line their own pockets and the pockets of their rich mates, and the Prime Minister did nothing.
Let us be absolutely clear: the policies that this Tory Government have introduced and continue to implement are none other than an attack on working-class communities. My constituents of Airdrie and Shotts are in continual contact with me, outlining how Tory policies are impacting their day-to-day lives, and they have raised genuine concerns that the Prime Minister simply does not understand the hardships that people face.
Rather than looking after his mates, the Prime Minister should be listening to the public. He is not here today, but I want to put on record how his policies are impacting my constituents.
A constituent wrote to me saying,
“I am a single woman that has learning difficulties. A £20 per week cut in my income would have a huge impact on me. I have struggled with my bills till the pandemic—the extra money has helped me out a lot.”
The Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, the hon. Member for Milton Keynes South (Iain Stewart), is in his place and I have a few questions for him. How many people who are on universal credit does the Prime Minister know? And how many people does the Prime Minister know who have donated money to the Conservative party and subsequently joined the Lords?
(Brent Central, Labour)
The hon. Member is making a powerful speech. Government Members seem to forget the subject matter of this debate. Watching the Peter Stefanovic video that has more than 40 million views might help to jog their memory. They might also want to sign my early-day motion 383 about the ministerial code, and watch my “The Big Narstie Show” performance, in which I did a little rap about the Prime Minister.
(Airdrie and Shotts, SNP)
I thank the hon. Member for her intervention and I highly encourage Conservative Members to go and have a look. I have previously spoken in this Chamber on the Nolan principles of public life by which we are bound. The Prime Minister’s actions have potential to bring shame on this House, with scandal after scandal bringing it into disrepute. Yet there has been no independent investigation to hold those responsible to account. The deception and dishonesty of this old boys network is entrenched in Government and in the Lords. I simply cannot comprehend that in the Scotland Office we have a Government Minister who in May this year was rejected by the Scottish electorate but, just months later, handed a peerage and a Government role. How is this democratic? [Interruption.] Exactly—it is not. Since the Prime Minister arrived at the Dispatch Box he has created 96 peers in less than two years, so the unelected House of Lords is bigger than the elected House of Commons. I ask again: how is this democratic? The Prime Minister has frequently violated the sixth principle of public life. His attention should instead be on creating policies that help the most vulnerable in society. That starts by retaining the universal credit uplift and scrapping the two-child limit, along with scrapping the national insurance hike. The pandemic has worsened household finances. To prevent a generation of people being failed, this UK Tory Government need sustainable and long-term solutions.