Why I’m Fasting Today To Help End First-Past-The-Post

LabourList As we mark the centenary of women’s suffrage, I, along with politicians from across the political spectrum, campaigners and people from all walks of life, are today taking part in Make Votes Matter’s hungry for democracy initiative, a 24-hour hunger strike to call for a new voting system, one that well and truly represents the diverse nature of Britain today. That is because we know, inspired by the suffragettes and their struggle for real democracy, that that fight isn’t yet over! Continue reading

UK Risks Missing Brexit Boat

From the moment Theresa May announced her intention to trigger Article 50, it’s been clear that we were in a race against time. But few seem to realize that we have less than two months in which to land the most important and complex deal in our post-war history. The reality is that the British government has six weeks to decide on the basic model that will define the shape and nature of U.K.-EU relations for generations to come. Continue reading

Only By Speaking European Languages Will Britain Rebuild The Bridges Burned By Brexit

Times article with Luciana Berger We take it for granted that public figures from the rest of Europe can speak flawless English, as Emmanuel Macron did in his interview on the Andrew Marr Show last Sunday. We expect the presidents and prime ministers of France, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Sweden or Norway to be able to conduct their politics and diplomacy with us in English. Continue reading

The European Economic Area Offers An Opportunity To Stay In The Single Market And Control Movement Of Labour

Politics Home For almost eighteen months now the country has been grappling with the vexed question of how best to retain the benefits of the single market without having to accept the free movement of labour.   We know that if we were to cut our economy off from the single integrated market of 500 million consumers on our doorstep this would have a catastrophic impact on jobs, livelihoods and communities across the length and breadth of our country.  And we also know that the so-called ‘four freedoms’ which form the basis of the Single Market - ie the frictionless movement of goods, capital, services and labour across the EU - are indivisible. In other words, there can be no cherry-picking - if you want full participation in the Single Market then you have to accept all four of the four freedoms. Continue reading

My Interview With Nick Clegg

 (Photo credit: Times News Syndication) House Magazine The problem with writing anything about Brexit is that in the few days between first draft and pressing send the entire picture can change, multiple times. For example, when I sat down with Nick Clegg in Westminster on Monday 4 December, Theresa May was sitting down for her fateful lunch with Jean-Claude Juncker. All morning Number 10 had been briefing that a glorious new chapter in the negotiations was about to open: the Prime Minister had miraculously managed to conjure up a form of words on the Northern Irish border that was somehow going to satisfy the EU, the Irish government, the DUP and the Brextremists in her own party. Continue reading

Austerity Isn’t Working, Local Councils Are At Breaking Point, And The Pay Cap Needs Scrapping

As the Chancellor gets to his feet today to announce the Budget, I have joined with Cllr Carol Clement-Williams, Cabinet Member for Finance at Neath Port Talbot Council, and Mark Fisher, Chair NPT Unison, to call on Philip Hammond to drop the Government's austerity policies, ensure local government is funded properly and that public sector workers get the pay they deserve. You can read our article, published in the South Wales Evening Post, below. Continue reading

Only a Labour no-confidence motion in the Tories can avert a Brexit disaster

Guardian Brexit is often portrayed as just another episode in the long-running and seemingly endless Tory soap opera about Europe – who’s up, who’s down, and who is stabbing whom in the back this week. But the reality is that the outcome of these negotiations will define the future trajectory of our country. From jobs to the value of the pound in your pocket, national security, immigration, food safety and supply, public services funding, employment rights and environmental standards, these talks will shape almost every area of daily life for generations to come. Continue reading

We urge the UK government to halt the roll-out of Universal Credit, before it’s too late

South Wales Evening Post Universal Credit (UC) is supposed to simplify and streamline the benefits system by putting Housing Benefit, Child Tax Credit, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance and Working Tax Credit, into a single registration and payment mechanism. So far, so good. We have no problem in principle with anything that makes our welfare state and social security more effective and less complicated. But the proof, as always, is in the pudding. And the fact is that the way in which the UK government has handled the set-up and roll-out of Universal Credit has been a total disaster, from start to finish. Continue reading

Commons Diary October 2017

'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us...’ I couldn’t help thinking of the spell-binding opening lines of Dickens’ masterpiece as I watched the slow-motion car crash that was the Prime Minister’s speech at her party conference. What a contrast with the collective high-five that had taken place in Brighton just a few days before, and with the Tory tub-thumping that we saw in the run-up to the General Election.  Continue reading

Healing the divides

 (Photo Credit: The Times News Syndication) Progress, Written by Stephen Kinnock and Joe Jervis Labour’s next big social democratic project must be to unite our fractured nation Britain has so much going for it – economically, democratically and culturally. Yet as a country we find ourselves more divided and polarised than at any time since the second world war. Young versus old, graduate versus non-graduate, city versus town – these have become the faultlines upon which modern Britain is built. Continue reading