This week Brexit dominated the Parliamentary timetable once again.
Monday saw another round of indicative Brexit votes. I voted in favour of the motion to revoke Article 50 in order to avoid a no deal Brexit – over 85% of the constituents who have contacted me about Brexit votes have told me they want to revoke Article 50 and 20% of the electorate in Cardiff Central have signed the UK Parliament petition to revoke Article 50 altogether.
I also voted in favour of a confirmatory referendum (public vote). Again, over 85% of the constituents who have contacted me about Brexit votes have told me they support a public vote which includes the option to stay as we are.
I didn’t support leaving on 22nd May with only a customs union because that is far, far worse than the deal we currently have on so many levels, and I didn’t support “Common Market 2” for the reasons I set out in my article published last week which you can read here. Unfortunately, again, no single option received majority support amongst MPs.
Wednesday saw more Brexit drama with the first tied vote in 25 years, followed by a late-night, one-vote victory for Yvette Cooper’s bill to force an Article 50 extension beyond April 12th. In a dramatic night, the Speaker used his casting ballot in the first tied vote in more than 25 years to defeat the amendment providing for more indicative votes next Monday. Yvette Cooper’s bill is now part way through the House of Lords and is expected to come back to the Commons late on Monday or on Tuesday.
We ended the week with the Prime Minister meeting Party leaders and holding specific talks with Jeremy Corbyn. She has also written to Brussels, requesting a further extension to Article 50.
Also on Wednesday, I was able to press the Home Secretary on whether or not victims of the Windrush Scandal will receive legal aid to have professional help with their claims under the published compensation scheme. There will be many people submitting complex claims and it’s vital they have all the support they need in order to get the justice they deserve. I wasn’t overly optimistic with the Home Secretary’s answer – you can watch my question by clicking here.
Also this week the Votes at 16 All Party Parliamentary Group released our campaign report to mark one year since the group was established – the report draws together evidence gathered throughout its first year, with contributions from parliamentarians from across the political spectrum, academics, youth organisations, campaigners and think tanks.
I contributed a section on the campaign for Votes at 16 in Wales – which thanks to new powers devolved under the 2017 Wales Act that I worked on when I was Shadow Secretary of State for Wales, is now coming a step closer as the Senedd and Elections (Wales) Bill has been introduced into the Assembly.
As a long-time supporter of Votes at 16 I have been really pleased to see the progress being made in Wales and I will continue to press for the same changes at UK Parliament level. You can read my contribution on page 9 of the report here.
To round off the week we had some excellent news last night as the fantastic Ruth Jones was elected as the new Labour MP for Newport West, following the sad passing of Paul Flynn. I enjoyed campaigning with colleagues from across Cardiff, Newport and all across Wales to help Ruth get elected. She will be an excellent representative for the people of Newport West and I’m looking forward to welcoming Ruth to Parliament on Monday.