UK Government Suffers From “Competence Deficiency” in the Face of Covid-19, Former MP Says



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The former MP of not one or two, but three political parties in Westminster, Chuka Umunna, spoke out against the government’s “incompetence” in dealing with big challenges, such as the coronavirus pandemic.

Umunna chastised the politicians in charge, saying that “that the crisis has illustrated there is a competence deficiency in government.”

Former Lib Dem, Labour and Change UK MP, Umunna, argued that the “art of politics” is not the same as “the art of delivery and doing logistical delivery of big projects” – something that requires a certain “skillset.”

UK Cabinet officials, who are appointed by the prime minister, have been replaced and reshuffled numerous times in the past several years. In the past five years alone, Downing Street has seen three different prime ministers, with general elections taking place in 2015, 2017 and 2019.

The current Home Secretary Patel, has previously held the role of Secretary of State for International Development. In 2017, she was forced to step down after it emerged she misled then PM Theresa May about 14 unofficial meetings with Israeli ministers, business people and a senior lobbyist. 

AP Photo / Ajit Solanki

Priti Patel speaks during the inauguration of Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Gandhinagar, India, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015.

The Education Secretary Gavin Williamson served as Secretary of State for Defence from 2017 to 2019. He lost his job over a leak of confidential discussions about Chinese firm Huawei’s involvement in the development of Britain’s future 5G network, an affair in which he denied having any involvement. 

AP Photo / Peter Byrne

Secretary of State for Defence, Gavin Williamson, left, and Prime Minister Theresa May with her husband Philip, centre, during celebrations marking National Armed Forces Day in Llandudno, Wales, Saturday June 30, 2018.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove Former held both the office of Justice Secretary and Environment Secretary. He was removed from the latter position by Theresa May in 2016, only to find his way back into the Cabinet in 2017.


Britain’s Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove arrives at 10 Downing Street in central London on February 13, 2020 as the prime minister reshuffles his team.

In the light of the Brexit turmoil and the strenuous ordeal of the subsequent negotiations with the European Union, a number of Ministers were swapped around, fired and rehired. According to Umunna, Covid-19 represents yet another challenge that is putting the government to the test.

“I see less and less people doing that and I think you now have a lack of life experience in government which is not a good thing. It is the nature of modern politics,” he argued.

The UK has suffered from high numbers of Covid-19 cases and deaths. The number of people who have died from coronavirus in the UK is currently just over 44,500.


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