This has been a very busy week for us all.
We had an Opposition Day debate last Wednesday that called for the Government to publish a plan for Brexit before Article 50 is invoked. It was a real win for us as MPs voted by a large majority for the Labour motion and finally forced the Prime Minister to change her mind.
The motion would not frustrate Britain’s exit from the EU or compromise our hand in negotiations. Instead we believe it could help to end the uncertainty that has come to dominate the Brexit debate.
For months Labour has been pressing the Prime Minister and the Government to set out its plan for Brexit. For months they have refused to do so. However, facing defeat on the motion, the Government have now caved in and agreed to spell out their approach to the Brexit negotiations with clarity.
Now we can focus on the battle for Brexit. We must concentrate on the terms of how we leave the EU and fight for the best deal possible for jobs and the economy.
I outlined my position on this in a recent article for the Times:
On Sunday I joined Boris Johnson on the Andrew Marr show to discuss Labour’s position on Brexit and to question the Government on their own lack of a plan.
While the Liberal Democrats have decided to speak for the 48%, they have nothing to say to the 52%. Similarly the Tories and UKIP are only speaking to a fraction of the 52% and have left the 48% feeling like they have been written out of their own history. Labour is currently the only party that is speaking for both Leave and Remain voters.
Closer to home I joined Mitzvah activities on Sunday at the South Hampstead Synagogue cheder. I met with local parents and children who were donating items to important causes like the London Soup Kitchen and Camden Church Winter Shelters. I was touched to see the kindness of people of many different faiths joining together to do good for others.
I also opened a new law clinic at Essex University on Thursday. Law clinics are fantastic places in that they provide free advice to people who really need it whilst also giving students the ability to work with professional lawyers. This is especially important in a world where we need human rights lawyers like never before.
Continuing my tour round the UK talking to businesses, trade unions and communities about Brexit, I was in Sedgefield and Darlington on Friday, and Aberdeen and Dunfermline on Monday. I spoke to Hitachi about how they make trains using engines from Germany, and parts from across Europe, met with local businesses from across the manufacturing, trading and services sectors, and visited The Steam Machine local brewery to talk about how the falling pound has increased the cost of the specialist hops they use. In Aberdeen I met with representatives from the oil and gas industry, the Scottish Fisherman’s Association, and the Chamber of Commerce, about their hopes and concerns following the Brexit referendum.