A Song For Jo

Jo Cox: More In Common, Book Review There's a scene in Brendan Cox's book that will remain seared into my memory for as long as I live. It takes place the day after Jo was brutally murdered. Her husband Brendan is sitting with their two young children, Cuillin and Lejla, just hours after he'd told them Jo has been taken from them. The children are deeply distressed and traumatised. Brendan is close to collapsing under the crushing weight of his grief. Continue reading

Labour should reach out to Tories on Brexit

  Photo: The Times / News Syndication New European June 8 shifted the political centre of gravity. There is now no mandate for the Theresa May-Daily Mail catastrophically extreme version of Brexit. Instead, the Labour Party now has the opportunity to forge a coalition of common sense that can seize the moment and chart a new course through these turbulent waters. For months now we’ve heard the Brexit mantra, that we want “the best possible deal”. But nobody seems to have a clue what that means in practical terms, and there seems to be even less idea about how to get there. This is not surprising, as we are embarking on a journey into completely uncharted territory, but the clock is ticking, and an already compressed timetable has been further squeezed by May’s unnecessary and hubristic election. Continue reading

Ignoring Brexit during this election would be a mistake

Photo: The Times / News Syndication Imagine driving through central London, at rush hour, with no traffic lights. Imagine the Merseyside derby (the fixture that has seen more red cards than any other in British football) being played without a referee. Imagine flights trying to land at Heathrow without any air traffic controllers. It probably would not end well, would it? And now imagine that Britain exits the European Union with no Article 50 deal, and no prospect of a trade deal -– the so-called World Trade Organisation (WTO) option. Much as we have all wished, even if just for a moment, that the offside rule did not exist, or that we could just jump that red light, ultimately we always come to see the value of rules, systems and the institutions that oversee them. Continue reading

Rebuilding trust

Photo: The Times / News Syndication For the Fabian Society I have written an article on how Labour’s long journey back to electoral relevance must start by rebuilding trust in our ability to manage the economy: Continue reading

No reason to delay Government decision on Swansea Bay tidal lagoon

Together with Carolyn Harris MP, Stephen Crabb MP & Nick Clegg MP, I have written an article urge ministers to give the green light to the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon project. You can read the article here. Continue reading

People are worried about immigration – Labour must devise a fair system and reunite the country

Written with Emma Reynolds MP, published in The Guardian The EU referendum was a vote for change on immigration. Free movement of people was rejected and now, as shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer stated in his recent Bloomberg speech, “the status quo is not an option”. Some in the Labour party claim the proponents of managed migration are “Ukip-lite”. We reject this argument, which leaves a vacuum for the right to fill. Moreover, Labour has tended to attribute concerns about immigration to overstretched public services and unscrupulous employers, and tried to counter those anxieties with facts about the overall benefits of immigration. Continue reading

On Brexit Parliament Should Be Holding The Government To Account But Not To Ransom

  South Wales Evening Post ‘Taking back control’ was at the very heart of the argument to leave the EU, but unfortunately Theresa May's shambolic approach means that six months on from the referendum we are still none the wiser when it comes to the type of Brexit the UK government is planning to negotiate. It is therefore high time that the Prime Minister brings her plan to Parliament. The British people need and deserve to know how their government is planning to handle this immensely complex process, arguably the most important political challenge since the Second World War. Continue reading

Steel: Back From The Brink

They say a week is a long time in politics; well, try 9 months. Back in March I flew out to Mumbai with Roy Rickhuss and other leaders of Community, the main steelworkers' union, to present the workforce’s turnaround plan to Tata Steel’s Board. The response we received was negative, and the next day Tata announced their plans to sell Strip Products UK, the heart of which is the Port Talbot works, in my constituency, unleashing months of uncertainty that has had a terrible impact on thousands of steelworkers and their families. Continue reading

Paul Nuttall is no friend of Britain’s working people

FT For the UK Independence party, the EU referendum result on June 24 was mission accomplished. Now, the party that has been a one-man band has lost its one man. Nigel Farage is off to lurk by the lifts in Trump Tower, hoping for another golden selfie with the president-elect. It does leave you wondering: what is the point of Ukip in Britain after Brexit? For the Labour party, however, there is no room for complacency. Donald Trump, the Brexit vote, Leicester City winning the Premier League title, 2016 has been the year of the long shot. And now we have Paul Nuttall, Mr Farage’s replacement as party leader, pushing the idea that Ukip can supplant Labour as the party of working people. Continue reading

Building An Inclusive, Patriotic And Confident Vision Of Britishness

  LabourList I've been around politics for as long as I can remember, and I joined the Labour Party in 1985, when I was fifteen years old. It's fair to say that as a Party we've been through some tough and bruising times, and I've had a ring-side seat for much of it. But I have never been as stunned or disappointed by the response to my use of the word 'assimilation', that I used during a Progress panel on Monday evening.  For me, assimilation is synonymous with integration. Both words describe the process of people from different backgrounds and cultures embarking together in an entirely positive journey of mutual learning, respect and understanding. If that journey happens to be taking place in the UK, then the over-arching umbrella of values and lived experiences that shape and guide it will be British. Continue reading