Brexit, Brussels and best in class
I'm trying to get the weekly updates out weekly (as the title implies!), but things have been so busy that this one is fortnightly. Bear with me!
Since my last update, we have had statements from the Prime Minister and David Davis in Parliament on Brexit, but precious little progress. Deep divisions in the Tory government and around the cabinet table are now the single biggest risk to the success of negotiations. This week I had to call David Davis to the Commons to answer an Urgent Question on Brexit because he had made such a mess of the situation before the Brexit Select Committee.
Our Labour team has been hard at work in Brussels liaising with our European Labour MEPs, MEPs from other EU countries & political leaders. I have also had discussions with Michel Barnier and his team on a number of occasions in recent months. Last week Jeremy and I had a meeting with the EU in Brussels to discuss recent developments.
Back in the House of Commons, we inflicted two further defeats on the government. First, we won our opposition day motion on Universal Credit last week by 299 votes to 0 (the Tories being three line whipped to not turn up!) Second, when the government accepted defeat on our housing motion. A pattern is now emerging of the government either not turning up to vote for fear of losing, or giving in.
Talking of housing, it was a great pleasure to attend the AGM of the Gilbey Yard tenants association and discuss their concerns about the development plans on the Morrison's site. This is an issue I pick up every advice surgery - which remain packed every session. We trialed an advice surgery at the Community Library at Primrose Hill. I'm looking to hold advice surgeries in different locations around the constituency (usually we are in the Town Hall or Gospel Oak), so any suggestions welcome.
As usual I attended the prize-giving at the Working Men's Collage in Camden last week. This annual event is a fixture for me because the individual stories of those who win prizes are incredible - many overcoming real adversity to achieve.
I am in the new constituency office most weeks, where I now have regular sessions with HS2 community groups and activists. As ever, lots of difficult HS2 issues to confront and hopefully resolve.
Finally, I nipped over the border to Tulip Sidiq's constituency last week to be interviewed on stage by Jo Coburn, presenter of Daily Politics, at the JW3 Community Centre. You can read a summary here.
More next week. As usual if you want to contact me email firstname.lastname@example.org