Parliament returned this week in a very moribund way, with hardly any legislative business at all while the Government focus instead on the internal Tory Party race to replace Theresa May as party leader and Prime Minister. With Labour similarly doing everything it can to avoid showing any leadership on the Brexit situation, I find this period of time intensely frustrating – because we are drifting towards a no-deal Brexit catastrophe while the main political parties twiddle their thumbs and look elsewhere.
We need far more urgency right now than is being shown – and the lack of leadership is shocking. If we get to the summer recess and Boris Johnson becomes Prime Minister there is every risk that he immediately shuts down Parliament altogether until November and we have no opportunity as MPs to prevent the chaos at our borders, for industry and in the shops that crashing out onto WTO rules would entail.
The European election results showed that the country has a strong focus still on Brexit – but it was no substitute for a People’s Vote. Much attention has been paid to the tactical voting for the LibDems who shared the view of some of the smaller parties including Change UK my own party that we should give the public a final say on how Brexit should proceed.
I was glad that Change UK achieved a near 600,000 votes nationwide and disagree with some of my former colleagues who decided to leave this week. Changing the established broken politics was never going to be easy, which is why I remain determined to stand up and fight for the mainstream centre ground values that led me to leave the Labour Party only a few months ago. Fighting for what you believe in means working in good times and tough times and that’s why I’ve stayed with our new party, now led by Anna Soubry and with my colleagues Mike Gapes, Ann Coffey and Joan Ryan. Together we are determined to develop new policies and an organisation that is willing to stand in elections and give the public a choice, not retreat to the sidelines.
Politics is chaotic and unstable and the moment – which means it’s more important than ever to stand by the principles of long-termism, evidence based policy rather than the drive to the ideological fringes, and fighting for what’s right on Brexit. I will keep trying to do this, even when times are tough.