Brexit, Withdrawal Bill and Budget
Having said that I would get back to a weekly blog, I seemed to have failed miserably again – there is just too much going on! Indeed, I’m writing this instalment sitting on a train to Witney, where I am speaking at a CLP fundraising dinner.
Where to start? First, of course, Brexit. It is now crunch time for the Government, with the deadline of mid-December for the next EU summit looming. That means that I’ve been busy talking to our EU and EEA partners. Two weeks ago I was in Norway and Sweden, meeting the leaders of our sister parties. The Swedish Foreign Minister repaid the compliment by visiting London last week.
While out there, I visited the busiest Norway/Sweden border crossing to see what life outside an EU customs union looks like: not good for Britain is my view.
I also had very constructive discussions with the so-called V4 countries: Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia
Back in Parliament, we have started the intense scrutiny of the Withdrawal Bill; and my Shadow Brexit Team (follow them on Twitter @ShadowBrexit) and I are working around the clock, with five more eight-hour sessions in the House in the next two weeks.
Meanwhile, we’ve been pressing David Davis for the 58 Brexit impact statements, which he says his department has prepared. Last Monday, he handed over some parts, but not others, so we pushed him with an Urgent Question. Here’s a clip of some of the points I made in the House
It has also been a busy time in Holborn and St Pancras. I have been holding our fortnightly Constituency Advice Surgeries in different venues across the constituency, to meet residents closer to home. Last week we were hosted by the Queen’s Crescent Community Association, which proved to be just as popular as a busy session at the Town Hall!
It’s been a pleasure meeting a great number of constituents at other local engagements. There are simply too many to mention here, so I’d like to focus on those concerned with our younger constituents. At the beginning of the month, I was on the panel of Councillor Oliver Lewis’ Schools’ Funding Open Meeting at the Town Hall, where it was abundantly clear that with our schools stretched to breaking point.
With little sign of relief from last week’s budget, we have the tremendous dedication of teachers and support staff to thank for the academic success of our children. Later that week, it was my pleasure to meet and talk politics with a group of GCSE students at William Ellis School, who, with the help of the charity Action Tutoring are on target to achieve their potential in core GCSE subjects. Finally Councillor Abdul Hai and I got the ball rolling, as co-Chairs, of the Youth Safety Taskforce. The recent rise in moped thefts and knife crime has affected many in this constituency. These crimes are most often perpetuated by young people, but they are also most likely to be its victims, and so the importance of this deep dive into causes and potential solutions cannot be underestimated. I will keep you updated you on our progress over the coming months.
So there we have it, just some of the things that have kept me busy over the past few weeks. Don’t forget that that our newly elected CLP BAME Officer, Sagal, is hosting Coffee and Politics, 2pm today, Saturday 2nd December at Hummy Yummy on Kentish Town Road. Please do come along to help contribute to our CLP being truly representative of all its members.