Two fantastic results this week. First the Supreme Court ruling that Johnson had unlawfully shut down Parliament. Second, Labour’s announcement that in Government we will scrap the failing Universal Credit system with its cruel five week wait for payments that has pushed so many families into debt, distress and relying on food banks to eat. Its demise in favour of a humane welfare system that gives people dignity and support when they need it can’t come soon enough.
I was very pleased to be back in Parliament on Wednesday. I was a petitioner in the court action because I believed from the outset that Boris Johnson’s actions were a disgraceful attempt to block legitimate Brexit scrutiny. The highest court in the land agreed. If Johnson had any honour he would resign, instead his performance in the Chamber on Wednesday night was utterly shameful and morally repugnant. Doubling down on his attacks rather than take any responsibility for his own Government’s failings and using the most inflammatory language despite emotional pleas from my Labour colleagues Paula Sheriff and Tracey Brabin amongst others that his words stoked division and put people at risk. It was a truly contemptible display, compounded by sending the most junior minister possible to respond to Jess Phillips’ urgent question on the matter the following day.
He couldn’t find the time to return to Parliament but it’s hard to know what Johnson and his team are actually doing. 30 days have passed since Angela Merkel called on the UK Government to come up with a plan and we are no further forward. The threat of “no deal” still looms despite the Benn-Burt act we successfully passed, because Johnson can’t be trusted (he’s been referred to the police watchdog this week for potentially criminal misconduct from his time as London’s Mayor). A “no-deal” Brexit has serious implications for the supply of food to the UK and many of the poorest in our community simply can’t afford to stockpile. The dairy industry is one of the most threatened by “no deal” yet when I asked Michael Gove about the supply of cheese, a staple for many, he seemed to find the question funny. The supply of food can never be treated like a joke, but this Cabinet of Tories is so detached and so disinterested in the reality of millions of people’s lives.
On Thursday, I was pleased to have my Urgent Question granted on the ongoing situation in Hong Kong as protests continue despite the withdrawal of the extradition bill. I asked the Foreign Secretary what steps the Government is taking to ensure that BNO passport holders are supported and what contact he has had with the Hong Kong Government. Watch the video here.
Back in the constituency I spent a lovely afternoon with the School Council at Woodside High, visited staff at Arriva Wood Green’s bus depot and attended a local public meeting of Stop Knife Crime in Muswell Hill to discuss the community response and update on what I’ve been doing in Parliament. Here’s my latest letter to Home Secretary Priti Patel.