The first day back in Parliament was dominated by the prospect of a General Election. This week the Labour Party and other opposition political parties tried to take control of parliamentary processes away from Government and extend the deadline for leaving the EU. Some of my colleagues joined them too. As I write this column I don’t know the outcome but you will. I didn’t support this action for the following reasons.
The PM and his team are in the midst of negotiations with the EU on an ‘amended deal’ so that we can leave the EU at the end of the deadline of 31st October. Parliament voted for this extended deadline agreed with the EU. I am encouraged by comments made by European leaders and by their preparedness to make some concessions to the so-called ‘Irish Backstop’ which is the sticking point preventing some MPs from supporting the EU Withdrawal Agreement. Having spoken with the PM and listened to his comments in the House of Commons, I believe that he is sincere in his desire to leave the EU with ‘a deal’ and is working with the EU to achieve this.
I want to enable the PM the best chance of achieving an ‘amended deal’, even if it is a slim chance, as the best way to prevent a ‘no deal’ Brexit is for the EU and the UK to agree ‘a deal’ that MPs will support. That will enable an orderly exit into a new, close relationship with our neighbours, allies and friends in Europe. That is what I was elected to do in 2017 and have been trying to deliver ever since.
Unless there is a General Election, Parliament will be sitting on 14th October onwards to consider, debate and scrutinise any ‘amended deal’. We have the opportunity to avoid a ‘no deal’ Brexit by voting for the ‘amended deal’.
If Parliament is unable to come to an agreement in October, the same options that are available this week will be available then to prevent a ‘no deal’ Brexit.
This week in Parliament I welcomed the additional funding recently allocated to our public services. I highlighted the Britain’s Leading Edge campaign that I helped to launch in July, with a simple premise: for the nation to achieve its potential every citizen needs the opportunity to realise theirs and that we need to unleash every region of England, not just those with a large city. The campaign demonstrates the systematic bias in public funding allocations that leaves regions without large cities receiving less funding than those that do. Now is the time to correct this historic bias.
Historically, Cornwall’s schools receive less per pupil funding than some others so I am delighted that the f40 campaign, of which I am a member, has been successful. Our schools will be receiving more funding in each of the next three years. I pressed the government to communicate the actual amounts each school will receive and this should be announced in mid–October.
First published in the West Briton 04/09/19.