Wednesday night’s marathon Brexit votes in the Commons showed that there is no Parliamentary majority for a “no deal” Brexit. The Spelman/Dromey amendment passed 318 to 310 with my full backing.
It’s an important message but it’s not binding. With only 54 days to go before we leave the EU, and with Labour Yvette Cooper’s amendment defeated, there is still a very real risk of ending up with “no deal” by accident.
The EU has been very clear that they won’t renegotiate the withdrawal agreement, yet the Prime Minister heads back to Brussels with nothing else to offer. The only difference from her Plan A is its now called Plan B.
We’ve now got two weeks until the PM returns to the Commons for further debates and votes. The option of a People’s vote still remains on the table and is still my preferred choice. As a long-standing supporter of the campaign for a further public vote, I’m pleased that Labour’s official amendment backed up our conference motion and noted that this is now one of the only two remaining options. It’s extremely disappointing that none of the Tory People’s Vote campaigners gave it their backing. However, it did attract 296 votes in favour of it.
On Monday night I voted against the second reading of the deeply flawed Immigration Bill. It’s based on a false conflation of ‘high-skilled’ with ‘high-paid’ when there are many vital jobs that aren’t paid over £30,000 but are nonetheless highly skilled, including many NHS workers. It is fuelled by crude anti-migrant rhetoric rather than the best interests of our economy and public services. Furthermore, it would give the Secretary of State to introduce a new immigration system without scrutiny or oversight of Parliament. You can read the speech I made in the debate here.
I’m sorry that despite Labour’s opposition it passed its second reading, and I intend to sponsor a number of amendments when the bill returns to the Commons. In particular, the unfair law that prevents people working whilst they’re waiting for their asylum claim to be processed. It forces people into poverty for no good reason and there’s overwhelming public support to lift the ban. I’ll be working cross-party to try and achieve this.
Over the weekend I attended a beautiful service and Kiddush in recognition of Rabbi David Mason’s 10th year at Muswell Hill Synagogue followed by a very well attended door knocking session in Crouch End listening to local people’s concerns.