Brexit/ People’s Vote

I stood for re-election on a manifesto which promised to respect the result of the referendum. In my view, this does not mean accepting any deal Theresa May brings back. It does mean trying to get a deal which is good for my constituency and the country.

That is why I voted against the Tory government’s deal this week. No deal would also be disastrous for Warrington’s economy and for the country.

I also voted to limit any extension of article 50 to 30th June. Unfortunately this was defeated. I then voted for the amendment proposed by Hilary Benn which would have given parliament the chance to vote on various options for Brexit. This was lost by 2 votes.

It is not good enough for ministers to call for parliament to say what it wants as well as what it doesn’t want and then vote against giving us time to do that. The government, of course, controls the parliamentary timetable.

I voted against a second referendum for two reasons. The first is that I stood on a pledge to respect the 2016 referendum result. The second is that in a representative democracy, I believe strongly that it is parliament’s job to see that we get a good deal, one that protects people’s jobs and living standards. That is what I shall continue to work for. Unfortunately, the campaign for a second referendum has been a diversion which has taken away valuable time from securing a good deal.

Universal Credit

Many people have sent me the 38 degrees email on Universal Credit. Warrington was a pilot area for Universal Credit and, like all MPs in those areas, I am well aware of the problems it causes. In fact, I have dealt with many individual constituency cases. MPs like me have been raising these problems for some time both in public and in private and we will continue to do so.

International Trade

A lot of people have contacted me about the International Trade Department’s question time on Thursday.

I understand why people are concerned about the NHS being excluded from future trade deals. Many Labour MPs have raised the issue of protecting the health service before now.

However, I think it is really unwise for outside organisations to tell MPs what they should ask, or for MPs to accept these “handout” questions. MPs are supposed to ask their own questions, not other people’s and anyone, who is old enough to remember ‘cash for questions’ knows how dangerous it is to deviate from this. I know that none of you are offering bribes but the principal remains the same, MPs should ask what they wish to ask.

People have also asked to me to raise this issue by “showing up” to question time. Please understand that who gets called is entirely a matter for the Speaker and he, rightly, will not be influenced by any outside body. Being at question time does not guarantee an MP will be called. I have sat through many hours of questions without being able to get in!