The 10 worst things the Government did in 2016

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Before we say goodbye to this year, we should take a look at the blunders of the Government.

From expense scandals to Brexit, here are some of parliamentary lowlights of the year…

1. Post-Brexit mayhem

As the nation remained in the dark about what on earth Brexit would entail, it was a tumultuous time for the Tory government.

A High Court ruled Article 50 could not be triggered without a Parliamentary vote, while reports that Scotland and Wales could intervene added greater uncertainty.

Confusion around whether Brexit would be “hard” or “soft” remained high as Brexit talks continue to stay secret to the public and MPs.

It's high point was perhaps when Theresa May replaced the meaningless phrase "Brexit means Brexit" with the meaningless phrase "red white and blue Brexit."

It was all a bit political partridge.

2. Scrapping of maintenance grants

It took 90 minutes for 18 MPs to scrap maintenance grants for the poorest students.

3. Refugee crisis

This Government is expected to fail in its pledge to rehouse 20,000 Syrian refugees by 2020.

Fewer than 2,000 were resettled at the start of the second quarter of 2016.

The UK government have been accused of treating unaccompanied child migrants as “somebody else’s problem” by the House of Lords’ European Union committee.

4. NHS off the agenda

Despite two thirds of the nation's health service being in deficit, the NHS was completely absent from Philip Hammond's 72-page Autumn statement.

Earlier this year a petition for a vote of no confidence in Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt saw 250,000 signatures as the long-running junior doctor dispute created a “state of unease” among healthcare professionals.

5. Return of grammar schools

Plans to announce new grammar schools were announced in September.

Philip Hammond has budgeted £240m for the expansion in England over the next four years despite having “no mandate” for this policy.

The proposals were not included in the Conservative manifesto at the 2015 general election.

In the Commons, John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, said:

How can a Government seriously talk about supporting a 21st century economy when they are planning to pour tens of millions into the failed 20th century policy of grammar schools?

6. Breached air pollution laws

The High Court ruled against the Government over its failures to tackle sky-rocketing air pollution levels.

A judge said the Government relied on 'optimistic' vehicle emissions tests and ignored the 'higher, more realistic' figure.

Each year 40,000 people die prematurely in the UK as a result of air pollution, according to the Government's own estimates.

7. Appointing Boris Johnson as foreign secretary

One of Theresa May’s first major decisions as prime minister was to select Boris Johnson as foreign secretary.

Johnson has a way of blundering his way through foreign engagements, saying problematic remarks and generally has a knack for causing offence.

When asked about this trait on the Marr Show, he said:

If you take things absolutely literally there are very few leaders or parts of the world I haven't offended at some point.

Great hire.

8. Approving fracking

In a landmark Government ruling, fracking was permitted in Lancashire.

Fracking has been linked to pollution of groundwater and the air.

The controversial new drilling operation for natural shale gas caused two small earthquakes in 2011 near Blackpool.

9. Snooper’s Charter

Say goodbye to your privacy.

In November, the Snooper’s Charter was passed into law meaning the Government now has the power to access and monitor your online activity.

The Government can also hack into millions of computers, phones and tablets en masse.

10. Homelessness

Austerity cuts mean up to a third of homeless young people are turned away when they seek help from their local council.


11. Labour fined £20,000

We can’t leave out the expense scandal that shook the Labour party.

The party was fined a record £20,000 for breaking election spending rules, including missing payment for then Labour leader Ed Miliband, during 2015 General election.

There was also that teensy little attempted coup with a tidal wave of shadow cabinet resignations, months of PR blunders and the worst polling figures for seven years.

What a time to be in politics.

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