Leader’s Update: 26/07/2019

It has been a momentous week. It feels as if we have had a General Election with a new Government and a new party in power. That is what has happened; except that only 160,000 Conservative party members decided who would be our Prime Minister and then he alone, in turn, chose our new Government.



Boris Johnson, in effect, insisted that every new Minister, notably those in his Cabinet, “sign the pledge”. Every one of them has agreed that – “do or die”, “deal or no deal” – we will leave the EU at the end of October. The people Johnson has hired, notably Dominic Cummings and other architects of the Leave campaign, along with the Ministers he has appointed, are final proof that not only has the Conservative Party become the party of Brexit, it is determined to implement the manifesto of the Brexit Party.

You can read my Guardian article on Boris here.

You can also watch me ask the PM if he would commit to returning to Parliament if he fails to secure a new deal from the EU – rather than forcing through a profoundly damaging no deal.


Labour’s woes

To add to the dismay amongst centrist, moderate people, the leader of the opposition in his pitiful performance in the House of Commons made clear the state of both main parties. They are both now firmly in the grip of the political extremes. What distinguishes Labour from the Conservatives is that at least the majority of Labour MPs do not support their leader and did not vote for him.


Don’t despair

But do not despair. Together we can fix our broken politics. Conservative and Labour MPs, members and supporters, need to stand up and show the courage of so many of our MPs and supporters. Both main parties cannot and will not return to the centre ground. We need something new and I believe we are the fresh start that politics in Britain so badly needs.

I am even more determined to continue to campaign for the revocation of Article 50, a People’s Vote and then winning remain. In that event we will be able to properly address the causes of Brexit and build a better Britain.


Jo Swinson

Congratulations to Jo Swinson who was elected as Leader of the Lib Dems. I worked with Jo during our time in the Coalition Government of 2010-2015 and consider her a friend. There’s a lot of nonsense talked about the lack of cross party working. I can assure you I have consistently worked with MPs from all parties on a variety of issues. In particular I was a founder member of the People’s Vote campaign.


Education policy

Ann Coffey MP, who’s leading on our policy development work, was invited to speak to a gathering of teachers and head teachers at Manchester Metropolitan University about education policy. Her view, and indeed the view of all our group, is that education policy, like all other policy areas should not be viewed in a silo. People’s experience of life just isn’t like that. You can read the full text of her speech on our website here.


Public health

Joan Ryan MP secured an important debate on public health funding. The debate highlighted some of the harsh realities that stem from the government’s decision to slash the public health grant, and it drew attention to the fact that the on-going uncertainty around long-term funding is prompting a crisis in public health.

You can watch part of Joan’s speech here.


Immigration detention

Home Office Ministers were called to account for covering up the plight of trafficking victims wrongly detained in immigration detention centres.

Joan Ryan repeatedly raised concerns regarding the treatment of victims of torture in immigration detention and the manner in which Ministers have failed to provide timely responses to enquiries on related matters. Joan challenged the Minister to stop withholding important data from public scrutiny. We must do all we can to protect the most vulnerable people in our society.


EU27 citizens rights

Our excellent former London MEP candidate Nora Mulready has been supporting the work of @the3million who are campaigning for the rights of the 3 million EU citizens currently living in the UK. Nora has pressed the government on how EU citizens coming the UK after the 31st of October will be treated differently. These are vital questions which need answering. You can follow Nora’s work on twitter @NoraMulready

Keep up the hard work Nora and everyone else campaigning and holding this government to account!


It may be recess but the work continues…

Finally, contrary to media reports, MPs are not off on a 5 week long holiday (well not me and my 4 excellent colleagues). I will be away with family and friends for two weeks in mid August but the work on fixing and building TIG for Change will continue throughout the summer.


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Thank you for your support.

As ever,