By North and Ayrshire and Arran MP Patricia Gibson (SNP).

* * * * * * * * * *

AS the UK waits with trepidation for the 160,000 Tory Party members to pick the next Prime Minister, ‘Backlog Britain’ continues unabated.

While the Tories spent years lurching from one self-inflicted crisis to the next, running the UK took a back seat to the Boris Johnson circus.

Continuous and conspicuous failure of political leadership has impacted on essential services.

Here in Scotland, we have long NHS waiting lists as demand has risen hugely post Covid. However, in the rest of the UK the situation is much bleaker.

From booking a driving test, renewing a driving licence, applying for a passport or visa, there is a huge backlog and I again raised these matters at Westminster last week.

The lack of UK Government urgency in addressing this is truly shocking, given that some applicants have waited months for licence or passport renewals.

READ MORE: Patricia Gibson - 'Shambles at heart of UK Government strengthens independence case'

For drivers, while some can continue driving whilst awaiting their renewed licence, delays can seriously impact a new driver needing their licence as an employment condition or form of identification.

Added to this chaos, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency announced in May that people requiring a driving test could wait until 2023.

Many aspiring drivers find their theory tests have expired while waiting for their practical exam, which must then be retaken causing further expense and delay.

Passport Office staff are under huge pressure, with morale at an all-time low due to lack of UK Government preparation for the predicted surge in passport applications and renewals following lockdown.

Ministers failed to resource the service, leaving long awaited travel plans in disarray as applications are processed.

This is not just about holidaymakers missing out on much needed summer breaks.

For many it has meant longer separation from family not seen since the pandemic began or business and employment opportunities missed. For others, particularly those fleeing the war in Ukraine, visa application processing delays can have a life-threatening impact.

READ MORE: Kenneth Gibson - 'SNP will do all we can to tackle cost of living crisis'

Rather than focus on properly supporting staff to deal with the backlogs, hot on the heels of last year’s unacceptable delays to state pension payments, Tory Ministers propose cutting 91,000 civil service jobs, showing just how detached from reality they are.

Moreover, we have witnessed another “Brexit bonus,” with chaos at Dover expected to continue.

Promises of “taking back control” now limits European travel to 90 days, with each person entering the EU now requiring more detailed passport checks.

These delays include exports taking much longer and subject to greater bureaucracy. I also raised this last week at Westminster.

Many English airports are in crisis and we face UK wide strikes, with Network Rail staff, Royal Mail workers and others understandably seeking higher pay as inflation hits a 40-year peak of possibly 10 per cent, hitting household budgets hard.

The UK Government must focus on the day job rather than bicker over which two members of Boris Johnson’s failed Government should replace him.

Their ineptitude is impacting many lives as their lack of grip on the big challenges we face is exposed.

Scotland deserves better than this.