I started the week recording an interview with ITV Sharp End to speak about Labour’s plans for the week ahead and why we absolutely could not trust Prime Minister on Brexit and the timing of an election, which you can watch by clicking here.
Then, our vote on Tuesday meant we were able to obtain control of the House of Commons agenda and begin the process of introducing the ‘Benn Bill’ to force the Prime Minister not to crash the UK out of the EU with a no-deal Brexit and to request an extension of time from the EU. The vote to wrestle control of the agenda in the House of Commons passed with a sizeable majority thanks to unity across the opposition parties and 21 Tory MPs, who were immediately booted out of the Conservative Parliamentary Party – including two former Chancellors, recent cabinet members and a grandson of Winston Churchill.
Wednesday was probably one of the most unpredictable and remarkable days I’ve ever seen since being elected as an MP. First, we had the spectacle of Boris Johnson’s first PMQs (the highlight of which was a brilliantly articulated question from my colleague Tan Dhesi), swiftly followed by a meaningless ‘Spending Round’ which appeared more as electioneering from the Chancellor as opposed to a serious review of Government spending to end the harsh Tory austerity of the last 9 years. Elsewhere, in DCMS Committee we continued our inquiry into reality TV with Marcel and Yewande from ITV’s ‘Love Island’ along with former contributors from the Jeremy Kyle show.
Wednesday afternoon saw the ‘Benn Bill’ (blocking a no-deal Brexit) introduced into the House of Commons and rapidly making its way through the necessary stages – with an even bigger Government rebellion than the previous evening. There was some initial worry about the Bill running out of time by being ‘talked out’ in the Lords (with Tory Peers tabling over 100 amendments) but at 1.30am on Thursday morning, the Government caved in and this afternoon, the Bill completed its Lords stages and will now receive Royal assent.
We then voted down the Government’s motion forcing an early General Election – a trap to enable Boris Johnson to repeal that legislation is he won a general election before the 31st October and crash the UK out of the EU without a deal on the 31st October.
We simply cannot trust the Prime Minister on anything. We cannot rely on him to act in the national interest. And as we saw on Thursday, it seems even his own brother can’t either. With the General Election motion falling, the PM has now lost his first 3 votes in the job.
It has been my priority and the priority of the Labour Party overall this week to ensure that there’s absolutely no way for Boris Johnson to force through a disastrous no-deal exit from the EU, which is why I voted for the Opposition to seize control of the order paper, voted to stop no-deal, and then voted against an early General Election too. We will undoubtedly have an election, but not at a time of Boris Johnson’s choosing.
Next Monday will see the Government attempt one more vote for an early General Election, again requiring a 2/3 majority of MPs to vote in favour – and again we will not support this and neither will the other opposition parties. We must protect the national interest.
I got back home last night, spent the evening knocking doors and listening to residents in Adamsdown with local Councillor Owen Jones and the Adamsdown Labour team and today I’ve had a very busy Adamsdown advice surgery and a meeting with Roger Lewis, the new President of the National Museum Wales. Tonight, to celebrate my birthday, I’ll be at the Cardiff City Stadium cheering on Wales in our crucial European qualifier against Azerbaijan.