This week's MP's column comes from Imran Hussain, Labour MP for Bradford East

FOR showmen, not statesmen Prime Ministers like Boris Johnson, politics is just a great game to be played, free from the consequences of his actions and the crises of his own making.

Yet it isn’t people like him who suffer from his disastrous mismanagement, it’s those in places like here in Bradford.

Just look at what happened over recent weeks on petrol station forecourts with queues stretching down the street and around the block. 

These shortages threatened to grind Bradford to an abrupt halt, because unlike in London, we don’t have well-funded public transport, and unlike Government Ministers, we don’t have personal chauffeurs. 

Instead, people are forced to rely on their cars to go to work, drop the kids off at school and everything else in between.

But like with most things created by this Prime Minister, it didn’t have to happen. For months he was repeatedly warned about the shortage of HGV drivers needed to get tankers to the pumps after many were either forced out of the country because of Brexit or forced out of the haulage industry because it just isn’t worth it anymore, yet he did nothing.

Indeed, it wasn’t until we were days into the crisis before action was even considered, and even more delays until the Prime Minister actually acted, which did little to alleviate the fears of a public who could no longer trust a word from Ministers and who doubt their ability to keep the pumps flowing.

The blame for the chaos on petrol station forecourts falls squarely with the Prime Minister who failed to act when needed, as too does the growing shortage of food on shop shelves, which again is the result of the HGV driver shortage that the Prime Minister was warned of and should have seen coming.

With shops unable to replenish the food on their shelves because there are simply no drivers to make deliveries, prices are rising to compensate. 

Passing these costs onto customers is hurting the public, many of whom have household budgets that are already stretched to the limit, for the mistakes the Prime Minister has made in failing to recognise the importance of hauliers.

Whilst the Prime Minister may not understand it, the haulage sector is the backbone of our economy. 

Yet HGV drivers face some of the worst conditions, working long, unsociable hours for little reward, and many were left high and dry by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the lack of support that was provided to them by the Government.

Even as the Chancellor told us he would do whatever it takes to keep the country moving, I had to urge him for more support on the behalf of lorry drivers in Bradford to keep their small haulage companies afloat.

In the end, this support wasn’t forthcoming and small firms collapsed, and it was clear then that when the country opened back up, there wouldn’t be enough drivers to keep the economy running as a result.

Along with rising food and fuel prices, we’re also seeing the potential for rising energy bills as the Prime Minister sticks to the idea of a privatised network, even as providers collapse because of increases in wholesale gas prices.

For someone in Bradford whose wages are already below the national average, they cannot afford an increase in energy bills this winter, especially when the crisis can be solved by taking energy into public ownership where it belongs.

All households across Bradford will be hit hard this winter by the triple whammy of rising energy bills, rising food bills and rising fuel bills, but those on the lowest incomes will be worst affected by these crises of the Prime Minister’s own making. 

Those supported by Universal Credit, of which one in three in Bradford are actually in work, will also have to ride out these price increases with £20 less a week in their pocket as the Government unleash one of the biggest cuts to the welfare safety net this week, prompting further fears of another crisis created by this Prime Minister in child poverty.

The three fundamental functions that go to the very heart of the purpose of Government are to keep us safe, to protect those who fall into hardship and those who are the most vulnerable, and to keep the country running. 

This Government have now failed on all of them.

But when we have a Cabinet where personal loyalty to the Prime Minister and ideological purity is more important than competence or talent, and a Prime Minister more adept at telling jokes than running the country, it is certainly not hard to see why.