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Voices: Boris Johnson lives on in Truss and Sunak – and the country knows it

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I cannot pretend that the last few weeks in parliament have not been a fun spectator sport – good practise for me as the Commonwealth Games roll into my hometown. I suspect the athletes competing in those events will make the Queen prouder than her government has, though.

The Tory leadership race seems to be designed entirely to demonstrate the party’s fractious shortcomings: from their dislike of each other to their dislike of the government they have worked so hard to prop up.

Outside of Westminster and back in my constituency, it has been considerably sadder to watch the workings of this Conservative government. The squabbles aren’t so amusing when you are fighting for eight hours to get a child a passport so he can go away on his school trip. The ferry sadly left without him.

It’s much less fun when reading the accounts of a frail woman whose wait for an ambulance was so long her health deteriorated significantly, leading to more costly, long-term care for her and more time off work for her carer son. A child rape victim I have worked with for a long time has just entered into her sixth year of waiting for the trial in her case. I guess that’s one way to bring child abuse figures down: make the victims wait so long that they are well into their adult years by the time they see the inside of a courtroom.

Services are on their knees across the board. Although the ability to queue is a point of pride amongst the British, I am not sure we agreed to queuing for six months to get basic documents and multiple days to access emergency healthcare.

It is for this reason I cannot believe that Conservative Party MPs have decided that a continuity of Boris Johnson is the answer to their troubles. If I had been asked to pick the two worst possible candidates to lead the Conservative Party, I would have answered Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss. Both have worked side by side with Boris Johnson to undertake policies that have ground our country to a halt.

This week in my office I listened to them on the news arguing about tax cuts, whilst in the background the Home Office-recorded message telling my staff to hold the line played on repeat. I suppose neither of them want to talk about the services that are crumbling because that would mean admitting that they held the chisels.

Both Sunak and Truss sat with the prime minister as he lied. They were both more than happy to sit back while Chris Pincher was promoted. They both took to the airwaves to defend the prime minister when Sue Gray’s report was released. They were there when the Partygate fines were handed out by the police. If they hated everything that was going on so much then perhaps they could have said.

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In my eyes, the candidates to be our next prime minister are only moral and principled when it is personally convenient for their ambitions. In this, Boris Johnson can be truly proud of his legacy. I don’t doubt for one second that they believe themselves to be the answer to the country’s problems.

But Boris Johnson lives on in both Sunak and Truss. The country knows this, and I am pretty confident they will not be fooled. After all, they have some time to think whilst they lie on the floor waiting for an ambulance or spend an entire working day on hold to a government department.

Jess Phillips is the shadow minister for domestic violence and safeguarding, and Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley

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