With Boris Johnson tweeting that the UK will leave the EU on 31 October at the same time as the UK Government filed court documents confirming he will seek the extension the Benn-Burt Act required, it’s impossible to know what’s true and what isn’t. That’s why our absolute priority must be preventing crashing out. Only then can we seek the General Election and final say referendum we so desperately need.
Johnson’s latest proposals certainly aren’t serious. They risk peace in Northern Ireland, undermine the Good Friday agreement and would lead to a race to the bottom on hard-fought workers’ and environmental rights. They seem designed to be rejected so Johnson can try and push the blame of a car crash no deal Brexit onto the EU. The truth is the blame lies right at his door.
I’m pleased John McDonnell’s Urgent Question was granted on Monday about betting against the pound in the run up to a Tory “no deal” Brexit and I was in the Chamber to take part in the debate. I asked about the housing market, one of the areas that the casino-style hedge funds are betting against and asked what assessment the Treasury has made of how many fewer homes will be built and which section will be worst affected: renters, first-time buyers or pensioners. It’s staggering that the Minister said no specialist advice had been commissioned. One of the many concerns about Brexit is the supply of medicine if we leave with no deal and when I attended the local Carers’ Coffee Morning recently, lots of people raised it with me. I was concerned that in a recent answer to a Parliamentary question the Minister talked about what they did in June so I’ve written to the Health Secretary to ask for up to date information on this vital issue.
If the Supreme Court victory hadn’t seen Parliament reopened, the long-awaited Domestic Violence Bill would have fallen. As it is, it had its second reading on Wednesday and you can view my speech here. Under a Tory Government domestic violence services have been slashed to the bone and in my speech I focused particularly on the difficulties faced by migrant women, unable to access public funds, who still face the agonising choice of staying in an abusive relationship or fleeing and facing destitution. This Government must extend support and crucially give local authorities the funding they need to support all victims in their time of need after nine years of savage, unnecessary cuts. My colleague Rosie Duffield made an incredibly moving speech about her own experience of coercive control, I have no doubt that her bravery will save lives. There is still not enough awareness of violence against women.
I was proud to sign More United & Compassion in Politics’ new code of conduct for MPs, working to build a more united country by avoiding language or behaviour that incites hate or encourages disrespect. I felt it was particular important after the unpleasant scenes in the Commons last week, our country has become increasingly more divided and as Parliamentarians we have a responsibility to work to overcome these divisions and set the standard we want to see.
Finally, I am delighted that ten out of ten wards have voted for me to continue as the Labour candidate for Hornsey & Wood Green at the upcoming General Election. It is an honour and a privilege to be your voice in Westminster.