THE extent to which the Government is bogged down by Brexit was self-evident on Monday when the House of Commons adjourned at 8.46pm after just over six hours of questions, debate and tributes to the late Dame Tessa Jowell.
It’s not as if Ministers and MPs were short of controversies, topics or material to deliberate. The consequence of the country’s political paralysis over Brexit is the sense of drift when it comes to those domestic policies which appear bereft of coherence – or ambition.
Energy policy is the latest such example. Nearly a decade after David Cameron – remember him? – promised to preside over the greenest government ever, a Parliamentary inquiry, headed by Wakefield MP Mary Creagh, points to a collapse in schemes intended to reduce the country’s harmful carbon emissions. It says huge policy and investment challenges remain in decarbonising transport, domestic heating and industry – a state of affairs that stems, in part, from the decision not to advance a pioneering plan to build a world-leading carbon capture facility at Drax power station in the heart of Yorkshire.
Once again, short-term decision-making appears to be standing in the way of longer-term progress to reduce pollution levels and, in turn, the number of people who require costly NHS treatment for asthma or other respiratory illnesses. Someone in authority needs to be pulling policy together to ensure a co-ordinated environment and energy policy which reflects the public’s strong desire for measures to protect the planet for future generations. Time is running out.