Boris Johnson may have announced his resignation, but he is still sticking around as a caretaker prime minister until his successor is elected.
Critics point to paralysis across government while the Tory Party picks a new leader. They may have a point: a number of things have been delayed, apparently by the leadership race.
Cost of living action
Despite a further rise in energy bills and soaring inflation, the government hasn’t announced any new measures to help the cost of living.
The last measure announced by the government came in May when Rishi Sunak scrapped his plan for a £200 energy bill loan and replaced it with a £400 grant.
But despite escalating pressure on household finances, further help has not materialised, because what the government ultimately decides to do will depend on who is elected.
Online harms bill delayed
The government’s online harms bill is expected to be dropped from the parliamentary schedule, deferred until the next prime minister comes to office in the autumn.
The parliamentary time previously allocated for the bill will be used by the government to hold a vote of confidence in itself.
The bill would impose a legal duty of care on social media internet companies like Twitter and Facebook to keep users safe.
The delay means the bill may not happen at all – one candidate, Kemi Badenoch, has said she will scrap it because “we should not be legislating for hurt feelings”.
Priti Patel skips MPs’ scrutiny
Priti Patel this week refused to attend a planned session giving evidence to parliament’s Home Affairs Committee, and said she would not answer questions until after the Conservative leadership election.
The Home Secretary – who may not even still be in post after the contest – said she would not attend in light of “the recent changes in government, and in particular to the ministerial team in my department”.
The committee’s chair said the “unacceptable” decision “does not make sense”.
Health secretary skips parliamentary appearance
No-shows were not confined to the Home Office. With ambulance services facing huge pressures the new health secretary Steve Barclay was criticised yesterday for not attending an urgent question in parliament.
Labour’s Wes Streeting said the absence was a “disgrace”, adding: “The Home Secretary wasn’t at the Home Affairs Select Committee this morning, he’s not here this afternoon, this isn’t even a Government in office, let alone in power.”
Liberal Democrat Health spokesperson Daisy Cooper said the Government was “missing in action”.
London’s transport funding
Transport for London, which runs buses and trains in the capital, has been without a permanent funding settlement since the pandemic pulled the rug out from under its finances.
TfL says it has met the government’s conditions for a deal but ministers this week provided yet another temporary extension and held off.
Insiders blame the political situation, with transport secretary Grant Shapps’ abortive leadership bid and the general focus on race.
Councils across the country are still unable to bid for Levelling Up funds because the government website for applications is still not available over six weeks after it was supposed to launch.
The scheme was supposed to go live on 31 May to issue the next tranche of funds. Levelling-up secretary Michael Gove was sacked by Boris Johnson in a bid to cling onto power.
Labour’s shadow levelling up secretary Lisa Nandy said: “While Tory leadership candidates parade around Westminster doing their best Margaret Thatcher impersonations, government has ground to a halt.”
In more positive news for the people directly affected, the government’s plans to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda has been delayed until a new prime minister is appointed.
The government has said it will not attempt another removal flight until September at the earliest, when a new prime minister is in place.
Officials say they are waiting for a decisive High Court court hearing and deny the delay is related to the result of the Conservative leadership contest.