Another week of Brexit votes, but we’re no further forward. Parliament voted to rule out leaving the EU without a deal, but then voted against having a bill to achieve that objective, or to give ourselves the extra time we’d need to do so. A vote was carried on a Conservative backbench proposal to approve Theresa May’s deal, with one crucial change that means we can’t be sure the Irish border remains open. The EU won’t agree to that (nor do I), and in any case, there are many other problems with her deal that risk our future prosperity.
Now we have another two weeks while the Prime Minister returns to Brussels again, and perhaps we will have a deal to vote on. But I can’t see how it could possibly be good enough for my constituents, and if it’s not, I won’t be voting for it.
We also had our first debate on the government’s Immigration Bill this week, and I was glad to vote against it. This bill would leave huge staffing gaps in the NHS, the food processing sector, hospitality and other areas, and the proposed new short-term work visas would allow the undercutting of British workers. I don’t think that’s what people voted for in 2016.
I know my constituents have more things to be concerned about than just Brexit, and this week, I’ve had the chance to ask ministers about new laws to control private parking operators, to raise concerns about long delays in paying compensation for Equitable Life policyholders, who lost out badly when the company went under nearly 20 years ago and are still waiting for justice, and to meet campaigners for a real living wage for workers at sports clubs.
Back in the constituency, I was also very excited to visit the building works for a new tram stop on the Trafford Park line that’s due to open next year, running past Manchester United, the Imperial War Museum North, and out to the Trafford Centre. This is an amazing engineering project, and I can’t wait to travel on it.