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

Squaring Our Brexit Circle

Photo credit: The Times News Syndication LabourList AN EEA / EFTA-BASED TRANSITION DEAL COULD UNITE THE LABOUR MOVEMENT AROUND A BREXIT THAT COMBINES MAXIMUM ACCESS TO THE SINGLE MARKET WITH PROGRESSIVE REFORM OF FREE MOVEMENT On Sunday Keir Starmer used an article in The Observer to call time on the ambiguity that had come to define Labour's approach to Brexit since the referendum. It was an approach that had served us well on 8 June, but it was never sustainable. With the clock ticking, the economy tanking, the pressure from Brussels building and the country crying out for some political leadership, it was high time that we set out our stall. Continue reading

Britain can use EEA as comfortable waiting room before Brexit

Financial Times The debate about what sort of Brexit the government should be seeking to secure has generated a tremendous amount of heat but not a great deal of light. Hard, soft, car crash, red white and blue — you name it, the list of random adjectives used to describe the type of departure from the EU is long. So, perhaps now would be a good time to remind ourselves of three vitally important facts. Continue reading