The Brexit shambles continued apace this week with chief Brexiteers David Davis and Boris Johnson jumping ship, the Tories descending into open warfare and Theresa May looking set to be the next in a long line of Tory Prime Ministers brought down by the issue of Europe. This country is caught in the crossfire with the only thing certain that Brexit will inflict severe and long-lasting damage to jobs, our economy and public services.
We were in the farcical situation on Thursday of the new Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab coming to Parliament to talk about the Brexit White Paper before any of us had even received it. Possibly because the Tories are as embarrassed about its content (or lack of) as they should be. It fails Labour’s six tests, skims over many of the key issues, and makes it abundantly clear that the Government’s promise of delivering a deal with the ‘exact same benefits’ as EU membership simply cannot be delivered.
It’s a complete mess, and the car-crash of President Donald Trump’s first official visit, only confirmed what was already glaringly obvious – that we can’t rely on Trump’s administration for a trade deal that would be good for Britain. Trump’s US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has been very clear that he wants to remove any “unnecessary regulatory divergences” between the UK & EU, which would mean a dilution of standards on everything from animal welfare to chemicals to sanitary measures. Why? So that their farmers can sell us things like chlorine-washed chicken, hormone-injected beef and milk from infected cow udders. We must not let that happen.
Pressure is growing on this Government to change course and with the clock ticking ever louder we must ensure our voices are heard. I spent Wednesday evening speaking at the London launch of Left Against Brexit, a new initiative bringing together progressive, left voices to make the positive case for staying in the EU and supporting the call for a people’s vote. I also wrote this article for Left Foot Forward, decrying Trump’s trade policies of deregularisation and profiteering.
I joined friends on the Trump protest which peacefully sent the message loud and clear that he, and his views, are not welcome here. There was a large contingent from Haringey including this fantastic Trump puppet! Only the next day the far-right gathered in London for another march in support of Tommy Robinson. With open displays of Islamophobia, racism and violence, including an appalling attack on a trade unionist alongside a “welcome Trump to London” demo, I have no doubt Trump’s election has given this odious movement energy and increased confidence. We must never let fascists go unchallenged, and I held a packed public meeting this week at Hornsey Parish Hall on how we come together to defeat the far-right. Speakers included Hope not Hate, Cllr Joe Ejiofor, local schools, with closing remarks from Bibi Khan, Wightman Road Mosque and Rabbi David Mason.
The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Esther McVey, came to the House on Wednesday to explain herself after she’d lied about the role out of universal credit. I raised with her the worrying case of a vulnerable man sleeping in a bin chamber in Noel Park, and urged her to acknowledge that her Government’s policies are failing and people in desperate need of help are slipping through the cracks. Separately, I’ve written to Haringey Council’s Chief Executive to ask what systems they are putting in place to prepare for the roll out of Universal Credit, due this Autumn, and ensure support is in place for people who will need it.
Finally, Hornsey & Wood Green Labour Party are looking for a part-time Admin Assistant for two months over the summer months, paying the London Living Wage. Click here for the job ad and full details of how to apply: http://www.w4mpjobs.org/JobDetails.aspx?jobid=66826