Council successes and MPs' holidays: A tour update
Parliament may be about to bunk off for the summer, but the push for a People’s Vote continues nonetheless. I’ve been playing my part by making the case in Parliament and by speaking at events up and down the country. On Wednesday my tour took me to Liverpool, where the council debated and approved a move to officially back a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal. The motion was passed with an overwhelming majority of 68 to 2. This is a major success for us and a wakeup call to Theresa May and her cabinet: people are upset with the course this government has set us on and want their say. It was an honour to be invited to speak prior to the debate by Liverpool’s excellent mayor Joe Anderson, and great to address a gathering of local pro-European groups at a celebratory event afterwards. Liverpool’s decision comes on the back of similar motions being passed in places like Swansea and Hammersmith and Fulham. Over the next few months, I’m confident we’ll see other councils following suite. But to ensure we keep the momentum going, I need your help. We need to put pressure on local councillors across the nation by writing to them and letting them know about the need for a referendum. You can find who your councillors are and suggestions for what to say when you write to them here. This weekend I’m in Northern Ireland meeting with local politicians and members of the public. Brexiteers have so far either downplayed the seriousness of the situation there – risking an inflammation of tensions – or totally ignored it. Jacob Rees-Mogg admitted a few months ago that he had never been to the border. I spoke at a public lecture at Queen’s University Belfast, details here. I’ll be listening to experts and locals who understand the Irish situation best and, on my return, will draw attention to the issues of EU withdrawal that they flag up. Back in London, Theresa May may not have had the parliamentary support to dodge any more controversial Brexit bills by sending MPs off on their holidays this week, but she’s still set to go ahead with giving them an extended break starting from Tuesday. This is a dereliction of duty in a time of crisis. That’s why next week, I’ll be turning my focus to the laws parliament should be introducing over the summer instead of going on such a long break. The Guardian published a piece on my proposals, which you can read here, but keep your eyes peeled for more information soon. I’ll be going into more detail on a different piece of legislation – including amongst other things a Food Rights Bill, a shakeup of our failing housing policies, and a Fair Pay Bill – that my fellow parliamentarians should be debating for each of the next weeks. Finally, I’ve also been helping to get preparations for the next People’s Vote march in October underway. We had far over 100,000 protesters join us in June, and I can assure you my colleagues in Westminster were forced to pay attention. But we want to go even bigger now and continue to pile pressure onto Westminster by making the next march the biggest one so far. Make sure you save the 20th of October in your calendars.