BREXIT is of course the main topic of conversation in politics at the moment, and we have seen a calamitous few weeks for the Government with resignations weekly and more negotiations within the Tory party than with Brussels.

At every stage Theresa May has been putting her party before the country, pandering to the select few hardline Brexiteers in her party while ignoring the pragmatic and reasonable many.

A good deal was possible with the European Union but now, after more than two years of failure and division, she is calling for the country to unite behind her botched deal.

This approach has failed and as a result she has lost all authority and support, not just across the country, but also within her party. Just last week the Government accepted a Labour amendment to their Budget out of fear of defeat – this is a Prime Minister now in office but no longer in power.

Last week however I held a packed advice surgery in the constituency when Brexit was far from anyone’s concerns.

I was struck by the amount of people coming to see me with horrific stories of PIP assessment failures and Universal Credit disasters.

The level of suffering within our community is shameful, and while I am doing everything I can as an MP to assist them through hardship, it is important to remember the source of such pain can be traced back to this Government’s policies.

This was on the same week that the new Work and Pensions Secretary came to the Commons to say that Universal Credit was a force for good. I’ve seen what a source of pain and suffering it has become.

Universal Credit was designed to lift people out of poverty but instead it is causing severe hardship for many people as it is rolled out, leaving many in debt, rent arrears or forced to turn to food banks to survive.

BBC’s Panorama found from a survey of 129 councils across the UK that the average amount owed by tenants claiming universal credit (£662.56) is more than double the average rent arrears of people still on housing benefit (£262.50).

Trussell Trust figures show foodbank referrals have risen 52 per cent in areas where Universal Credit has been rolled out over the previous 12 months, strongly suggesting that instead of lifting people out of poverty it is pushing them into it.

The system is not fit for purpose and we must therefore halt the roll-out and fix the system.

But the level of complacency and inaction from the Government in response to these hard truths is appalling. They often like to cite the fall in unemployment to prove that the system is working – ignoring the 800,000 workers on zero-hours contracts, the 14 million people living in poverty in the UK, and the one million more children in working households who are growing up in poverty.