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Westminster diary – 11.04.19

At the time of writing it seems the Government will request a further delay to Brexit, for up to a year, simply because the Government cannot get its Brexit deal through Parliament and the Prime Minister left it too late.

Since December, the PM has tried repeatedly to force her deal through Parliament and failed. It has been a strategy of extreme brinkmanship while seeking to diminish Parliamentary scrutiny of her deal. MPs of all parties see it as a bad deal, as it doesn’t protect the economy and threatens the Good Friday Agreement.

Although I favour remaining in the EU, I have been one of many MPs who were willing to find a compromise in this process in order to try and start reuniting our country. For example, I voted for options which advocated a customs union, the single market and customs union, a second referendum, and revoking article 50 to avoid a ‘no-deal’ (i.e. reverting to World Trade Organisation terms of trade – seriously less advantageous to those we enjoy today). Unfortunately, many Conservatives voted down all options or solely voted for no-deal. Liberal Democrats and the Independent Group were unwilling to vote for softer Brexit deals.

I hope that cross-party talks between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn can produce a way forward, but there has been little sign of compromise from the Government. Any deal should be put back to the people to ensure it is what the country wants and have written to my party leader outlining this.

Many of you will remember the case of Alfie Dingley and the campaign to allow families access to medicinal cannabis to treat illnesses such as severe epilepsy. It is a campaign I have supported this past year. The Government changed the law as a result of the campaign. However, this has not translated into a real change for families trying to access these medicines – I will continue to lend my voice to those calling for this situation to be resolved.