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

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