For almost three years now, this shambolic Tory Government has failed to negotiate Brexit, failed to listen to the changing public mood and failed to change course despite now losing a meaningful vote on the Prime Minister’s botched deal three times.
With only days to go before we’re due to crash out of the EU, I co-sponsored Monday’s Benn/Letwin amendment giving power back to Parliament to propose what happens next and in Wednesday’s indicative votes, I backed proposals to revoke Article 50 if no deal is reached before exit day. Over 30,000 Hornsey & Wood Green residents have signed the petition calling for this, the second highest in the country, and I agree with them that we can’t risk stumbling into a catastrophic “no deal” that would devastate our economy and throw into complete uncertainty the lives of the three million EU citizens who have made the UK their home.
I also supported proposals including the Beckett amendment to give the public a final say on any deal that comes forward out of this process. Democracy didn’t stop on 23 June 2016 and it’s crucial that the public have the opportunity to vote based on where we are now, not the spin and lies of the original referendum campaign. Any vote must include the option to remain.
Whilst the votes revealed that Parliament is in gridlock with no majority for any option, support was highest for giving the public the final say. When it comes back to the Commons again on Monday, that’s what I will continue to fight for. With the Prime Minister’s deal falling to a third crushing defeat on Friday, and Vote Leave admitting they broke electoral law by quietly dropping their appeal, we have to stop and change course.
Some of the tone of the Brexit debate has been deeply unpleasant and divisive, and I was appalled to see Tommy Robinson in Parliament Square on Friday evening and far-right attempts to use this mess to whip up racism. I will keep doing everything I can in Parliament to stand up for an inclusive vision and future for our country.
There is so much that needs attending to outside of Brexit and it’s a huge source of frustration to me that crucial issues are being pushed to the side because Brexit is consuming all the Government’s attention. I took part in an important Westminster Hall debate on knife crime on Monday where I spoke about how the local community is affected when violent crime occurs and asked about support for witnesses suffering trauma and stress. I also discussed the role of prisons in rehabilitation and expressed my concerns over the quality of this work in some instances especially in privatised prisons as well as problems with drugs in prisons. Read the full transcript of my interventions and the responses here. Cllr Mark Blake and Haringey Council are doing some important work in this area with their new Young People at Risk Strategy, you can watch the video here.
On Saturday, I joined Muswell Hill & Hornsey Friends of the Earth as they campaigned outside HSBC to urge the bank to stop funding coal and set a timetable for phasing out finance for fossil fuels. Big banks have a real responsibility to set the agenda in this area and I’d like to see HSBC doing much more to invest responsibly and think about the role investment plays in funding climate breakdown.