This week in Parliament, Ian has been representing Wansbeck in Westminster, championing constituents inside and outside of the debate chamber. Events in Westminster have been in the headlines, and Ian and the Labour Party have been standing up for ordinary people in Wansbeck and beyond.
After the re-election of Jeremy Corbyn as Leader of the Labour Party, Labour MPs have returned to Parliament with the leadership question firmly settled. With a razor thin majority and a Tory party split over Brexit, only Labour is able to provide a strong voice in Opposition and ensure a deal in the interests of working people in Britain.
Labour’s new frontbench team have been working hard to hold the government to account, to prevent a shambolic exit from the EU that risks jobs, growth and rights at work. With this in mind, Labour tabled 170 questions, challenging the Tories to set out their vision for exactly how we will exit the EU, and what their vision is for the country outside the organisation.
Keir Starmer, the new Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, took to the despatch box and meticulously took the Conservative argument apart. David Davis, this time last year a keen proponent of the sovereignty of Parliament, has performed a U turn and now argues for the sovereignty of ministers over MPs.
At Prime Minister’s Questions, Jeremy Corbyn continued on the Brexit theme, dedicating all of his questions to the topic. He is absolutely right that we face an almost unprecedented economic challenge, that the confidence of businesses is falling and that the cost of leaving the EU could well be borne by working families rather than those with the broadest shoulders. If the challenge ahead is not met, shortages on supermarket shelves won’t just dominate the news agenda for one day; they will be a fact of life for millions.
The government have already given ground on parliamentary scrutiny of Brexit. They’ve fallen into retreat on foreign worker lists, claiming it was never a policy. The ‘leading lights’ of the Cameron era are in open revolt. The Tories have been fighting amongst themselves over Europe for forty years. They may spend the next twenty fighting themselves on leaving Europe.
After a summer leadership contest, Labour MPs have stepped up and challenged the government across the board. This week showed what a united, outward looking party can achieve when we combine our strength.
On a personal note, I was proud and pleased to accept the role of Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office. Although the Cabinet Office isn’t the most recognisable name on the list of government departments, it is one of the most important. My job will be to scrutinise the machinery of government, and to ensure that Labour’s vision for a more democratic Britain is put forward. At this time, when the government has forced the Boundary Commission into a straitjacket in order to subvert democracy for a narrow political advantage, the Shadow Cabinet Office brief is one of the most vital jobs on the frontbench. I look forward to many debates with Ben Gummer, my opposite number and ensuring that Britain has a democracy to be proud of.
Are you a constituent experiencing difficulty or do you have a cause you wish to raise? You can email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 01670852494 or write to Ian Lavery MP, 7 Esther Court, Wansbeck Business Park, Ashington, NE63 8QZ