The Europe debate has taken an extremely disturbing turn in the last few days, and the first thing to say is that there is an urgent need to try and ensure the rhetoric is dialled down. Politics has been conducted in a particularly highly charged atmosphere since the beginning of the referendum campaign, and whilst it would be wrong to link any specific event to this, it is surely no coincidence that hate crimes have risen sharply since the spring. Inflammatory language, whether used by politicians, the press or on social media, has consequences and we all have a responsibility to conduct ourselves calmly.
The High Court judgement recently, represented in some quarters as an attempt to ‘reverse Brexit by undemocratic means’ is, of course, no such thing. As the judgment itself makes clear, the case was not about ‘the merits or demerits of leaving the EU…which is a political matter….but whether the Government is entitled to give notice of the decision to leave the EU under Article 50 by exercise of the Crown’s prerogative powers and without reference to Parliament’.
Whether or not this position is right (I believe it to be so) or whether it is reversed on appeal, it is absolutely right that we all robustly defend the independence of our judges. They are not, and should not be, immune from criticism, but headlines screaming that judges asserting the role of Parliament are ‘enemies of the people’ are both disgraceful and dangerous.
On the substance of Brexit itself, I was amongst the many millions bitterly disappointed by the result, and the last few months have only served to confirm the risks for our country; to say nothing of the extent to which lies put forward by some parts of the ‘Leave’ campaign have been exposed. It is now clear that the ‘Leavers’ have no plan for the country, and that we face the possibility of an extremely damaging ‘hard Brexit’ --which was by no means what most ‘leave’ voters thought they were endorsing.
It would be wholly irresponsible of Parliament not to do its best to mitigate the negative consequences of Brexit, and not to fight for the best outcome for London and the rest of the UK. We need to have a clear idea of what the Government’s preferred options for the UK’s relationship with the rest of the EU are before Article 50 is triggered and the nation is locked into the inflexible 2 year exit period. The ‘leave’ campaign promised that quitting the EU would make us richer, safer and happier. It’s now up to them to demonstrate how they will make it so.
There is a world of difference between ‘thwarting the expressed will of the people’, which would clearly be wrong, and seeking a constructive way of implementing the referendum decision that takes into account the long-term interests of all the British people – both ‘leavers’ and ‘remainers’.
I appreciate that the result of the referendum has raised uncertainty over the future rights of EU nationals living and working in the UK, and of UK nationals in the EU, particularly following comments made by Government Ministers which have suggested that this matter will form part of the EU-UK negotiations. This issue has been raised on a number of occasions with the Government in the House of Commons. On 6 July the Opposition put forward a motion calling on the Government to commit with urgency to giving EU nationals currently living in the UK the right to remain. I supported this motion and I am pleased that it passed overwhelmingly. The Government must now accept the decision of the House of Commons, end the uncertainty and confirm the legal status of EU nationals without delay.
The Europe debate has taken an extremely disturbing turn in the last few days, and the first thing to say is that there is an urgent need to try and...
It is clear that there is deep concern about this important service, as has been demonstrated by the number of letters I have received, the signatures on the petition and the attendance at the public meeting (on a dark winter’s night!)
There is understandable concern to protect rural post offices, on the grounds that they are important parts of a community and help sustain other services in a local area. However, I believe strongly that this argument also holds true in cities, where it is also essential to keep a local ‘heart’- Libraries, GPs and Post Offices all form part of that.
The Post Office are looking to cut another third from their budget, and it is cost that it driving these changes- whether they are closures or franchising. The question is, can any deal be struck between the Post Office, the staff and the Council who own the building in which the Post Office is currently located?
I appreciate that the Council will also want to earn as much rent from the premises as possible, not least because of the massive cut in funding they have had to deal with. But I would hope that a compromise might be reached in the fulfilment of the Council’s general duty to the community.
I have been speaking to the Council and the Post Office - and here is what the Post Office said just before the public meeting:
Dear Ms Buck
We are currently considering expressions of interest for a number of franchise opportunities, including St Johns Wood. We will need to complete the detailed assessment of these before we are ready to communicate any firm proposals for the branch. Consequently if we were to attend this evening’s meeting we would not be able to discuss any potential franchise partner or potential new location of a franchised branch. As such at this stage there would be very little information we could share with customers beyond the fact that we have advertised for a franchise partner.
Once we have a formal proposal at St Johns Wood we will commence a period of public consultation. As part of this we will host a customer forum for members of the public, local stakeholders and other interested parties to speak to representatives of the Post Office so that they can better understand our proposals and how they can input to the public consultation. We will also invite CWU to attend the forum. Our forums are held in a local venue and typically take place over a number of hours spanning the afternoon and evening to ensure they are convenient – we also publicise them via the local press and information in branch as well as alerting the local council and yourself as the local MP. We have been running these forums for many years and find them to be the best way to engage with customers and others on these type of proposals.
Post Office Ltd
And when I contacted them again afterwards:
I do understand how important the Post Office service is to local residents and will of course keep you updated. I can’t give you an indication of timescales yet but any franchise branch typically offers the same services as a Crown Post Office and we will run a public consultation when we have a proposal. I’ll speak to the team managing this about your question around alternative sites for the Crown.
I can assure you that I will continue to make the case as strongly as I can - and we may need to move the campaign up a gear when we get a more specific proposal.
Thank you again
Karen Buck MP
In case you missed it, here’s the Wood and Vale’s coverage of the campaign from late September.
It is clear that there is deep concern about this important service, as has been demonstrated by the number of letters I have received, the signatures on the petition and...
Please click here to fill out my Short Term Lets Survey
Please click here to fill out my Short Term Lets Survey
In many parts of Asia - particularly China and South Korea - it is culturally acceptable to eat dog meat and the sale and consumption of dog meat is legal.
However, I appreciate that dogs used for meat are often kept in terrible conditions and I share constituents concerns about the barbaric nature of this trade and the inhumane way in which so many innocent animals are treated in its production. I therefore welcome the work of a wide range of animal welfare organisations in raising awareness of this issue. It is also the case, of course, that this industry presents a serious threat to human health.
As has been highlighted there was a debate in Westminster Hall on 12 September 2016 in relation to South Korea and the dog meat trade. This debate was granted after a petition calling on the UK Government to urge the South Korean government to end the dog meat trade has been signed by over 101,000 people. This debate followed a previous debate in the House of Commons on 5 November 2015 which called for an immediate end to dog meat trade cruelty and called on the Chinese government to stop the Yulin dog meat festival where thousands of dogs are cruelly bound, confined, trucked and slaughtered for meat each year. I am concerned that this festival continues despite huge pressure for it to stop. The motion was agreed to in the House of Commons on 5 November without a vote.
The UK Government points out that in the absence of international laws governing the trade and consumption of dog meat, the UK has no legal grounds to intervene or take trade measures against countries where the consumption of dog meat is regarded as culturally acceptable. However, the Government has said that it is prepared to tackle cultural norms, particularly when it comes to the consumption and use of animals, and that it will continue to raise concerns with countries engaged in the trade and the consumption of dog meat.
The Government has also issued a response to the petition about South Korea, in which it has stated that the UK continues to raise the issue of the ongoing consumption of dog meat in the Republic of Korea. The Government also states that the British Embassy in Seoul has raised the issue of cruelty towards animals on numerous occasions with the South Korean authorities and explained that the UK public and parliamentarians would like to see Korean regulation that would bring the practice to an end. The Government says it will continue to seek further opportunities to raise the issue, in particular as we approach the Winter Olympics in 2018, and that it will monitor developments in the Republic of Korea.
While the Government cannot legislate beyond the UK, I hope it will continue to use every diplomatic and other opportunities to ensure these cruel and hazardous practices are brought to an end and that it will press counterparts around the world to collaborate in efforts to change attitudes and reduce animal suffering.
In many parts of Asia - particularly China and South Korea - it is culturally acceptable to eat dog meat and the sale and consumption of dog meat is legal....
Sometimes we all need a little help...
Every year, the number of people needing help with problems goes up. In 2015, Westminster Citizens Advice alone reported a staggering 10,095 cases - and many more people struggle on in silence with money, benefits issues, housing or other worries. Every year my staff and I also assist thousands of people with queries and problems. Sometimes this involves direct help or representation, and sometimes we refer constituents elsewhere - for legal or specialist advice (we often get the best results by working together with lawyers or other agencies.)
I am always pleased to hear from constituents and to try and help whenever I can, but given the huge amount of need for help and advice there is, I thought it would be useful to put some of the most useful info (local and national) into an e-mail for constituents to use or keep for future reference.
This doesn’t cover everything by a long way, but it’s a start and please remember it is always better to seek advice early!
Immigration Advisory Service
Westminster Citizens Advice Bureau
We are an independent charity that provides free, confidential and impartial information and advice to the residents of the City of Westminster.
How can we help?
Drop-in Opening Times
|Monday||Tuesday||Wednesday||Thursday||Friday||1st Sat of Month*|
|Beethoven Community Centre
London W10 4JL
|13.30 - 16.00|
|WECH Community Centre
Athens Gardens (entrance via Chantry Close off Elgin Avenue)
|15.00 - 17.00|
|Citizens Advice Westminster
21a Conduit Place
London W2 1HS
17.30 - 19.00
(for employed only)
|09.30 - 12.00|
|Church Street Library
67 Church Street
|10.30 - 12.30|
(Money Matters service from 1pm)
67 Church Street
London NW8 8EU
Wed 10.30am-12.30pm (Doors open 10am)
- you are a low-income family or individual, and
- you are eligible for means tested welfare benefits or other public funds, and
- you live in London
- With any issue that has an element of immigration or fraud
- With family, consumer or criminal matters
Phone: 02072590801 – select option 3.
For enquiries relating to issues with your council tax, welfare benefits and housing, or for advice on how the welfare reform will affect your housing benefits.
Phone: 02072590801 – select option 1
Private Rented Sector Access Scheme
For enquiries relating to moving into rented accommodation.
Phone: 02072590801 – select option 2
Money and Benefits Advice
This summer I took part in a campaign to promote Turn2us and the important work they do in helping make sure everyone claims what they are entitled to. You can see my video clip here.
Turn2us is a national charity that helps people in financial hardship to gain access to welfare benefits, charitable grants and support services – online, by phone and face to face through partners and volunteersThe Turn2us website includes a Benefits Calculator to find out what welfare benefits and tax credits you could be entitled to, a Grants Search to find out if you might be eligible for support from over 3,000 charitable funds, and a range of information and resources to help people in financial hardshipTurn2us can also provide direct financial assistance through a range of specific funds that are managed directly by the charity, including the Elizabeth Finn Fund which supports people from over 120 different professions. For more information, please visit www.turn2us.org.uk
Debts are a source of huge worry to people, and can seriously affect mental and even physical health. This is a great website, which you can use to contact an advisor, or to do Debt Remedy, the online debt advice service.
The helplines are open 8am-9pm Monday to Friday and 8am-4pm on Saturdays
0800 138 1111 Freephone (including all mobiles)
Locally, my office, councillors, the CAB, Law Centre and local law firms deal with huge numbers of housing cases, from disrepair to homelessness, but the Shelter helpline is also an important way to get help, including when other services are closed.
- assured or assured shorthold tenancies (eg less than 21 years and where rent is paid weekly or monthly)
- commercial leases (a shop or other business)
- Use the interactive tool on our website. Start by clicking one of the links below to access helpful advice guides that may provide the answer you need:
- I own a flat
- I own a leasehold house
- I am the freeholder or intermediate landlord of a building containing flats
- If you still can’t find the advice you need you can call our advice helpline. To make the best use of your time, make sure that before you call you:
- write down a clear outline of your problem and any questions you have. This can help the adviser help you more easily
- make sure you have relevant documents to hand
- have a pen and paper, as leasehold law can be complicated and you may want to make some notes
Monday to Friday from 9:30-15:00
Heating and Saving Energy
“Independent, expert advice on saving energy in your home”Contact the Energy Saving Advice Service on 0300 123 1234 (all you pay for is a national rate call). Alternatively you can email firstname.lastname@example.orgHours for callingMonday to Friday, 9am to 8pm www.energysavingtrust.org.uk
Immigration Advisory Service
Providing some of the most experienced immigration solicitors London has to offer, here at IAS we can help with anything and everything to do with immigration.
Situated in South East London, the Immigration Advice Service office on Borough High Street offers a professional environment for you to discuss your case with us. Our specialist team will expertly review your case and give you dedicated immigration advice and guidance to help you on your way to resolving your immigration issue, or submitting a successful application.
Having the in-depth knowledge, experience and resources to explore all the options open to you and taking the time to listen to your individual circumstance, we are able to fully analyse your immigration matters on a case by case basis and can provide you with the best advice and representation from a dedicated immigration solicitor based right here in London.
You can be assured that with the IAS immigration lawyers in London you will benefit from a professional and thorough service that will follow your needs and requirements closely, ensuring the success of your immigration case.
70 Borough High Street
Tel: 020 3740 4613
Migrant Resource Centre
The MRC offers a range of free services to support migrants, refugees and asylum seekers on their journey towards integration into their host society. By supporting them to develop their skills and understand their rights and responsibilities, we enable them to fully participate in and contribute to that society.
• Promote social justice
• Enable and encourage two-way integration through dialogue, mutual acceptance and respectTo achieve this we offer:• Specialist immigration and asylum advice
• General information and advice
• Employment, education and training advice and support
• Information on accessing health services
Head Office:Migrants Resource Centre
56 Eccleston Square
SW1V 1PHGeneral enquiries
0207 834 2505
- Listen to your concerns, suggestions or queries
- Help sort out problems quickly on your behalf
- Put you in touch with other sources of help
- Feedback issues to our organisation to improve services and patient experience
- Advise you on how to request copies of medical records
- Email email@example.com: use this email address to raise concerns and give feedback on any of our sites or services
- Complete a PALS form: Use this form to explain your concern or give feedback, and provide contact details so we can get in touch with you. You can fill this form in yourself or one of our PALS officers can help you complete it.
- Call or visit one of our PALS offices below:
020 3313 0088, Monday to Friday, 09.30-17.00. An answer phone system operates at busy times and out of hours. Please leave a message with your name and phone number and a member of staff will call you back.
Walk-in PALS office
Ground floor, main hospital entrance, Charing Cross Hospital, Fulham Place Road, London W6 8RF
Monday to Friday, 09.30-17.00
There is no walk in office at Hammersmith or Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea hospitals, however you can discuss any issues you have at the PALS office in Charing Cross Hospital.
PALS manager, Charing Cross Hospital, Fulham Place Road, London W6 8RF
Walk-in PALS office
Ground floor of the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother (QEQM) building, St Mary’s Hospital, South Wharf Road, London W2 1NY. See hospital map
PALS manager, Ground Floor, Clarence Wing, St Mary’s Hospital, South Wharf Road, London W2 1NY
Making a complaint
To make a complaint please email our complaints office at: firstname.lastname@example.org or send a letter addressed to:
St Mary’s Hospital
Praed Street W2
Phone 0800 138 3944 to book a free appointment
- you’re aged 50 or over, and
- have a defined contribution pension. These are not final salary or career average pensions.
www.acas.org.uk 0300 123 1100
Issues in the local environment
Westminster Council’s ‘Report it’ page on their website lets you tell them immediately about a number of issues affecting the local environment.
Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour
The Met website allows you to report a number of crimes and find out about crime in the local area.
Have you been a victim of crime?
Westminster Victim Support
Help for Young People
For free & Confidential Help for U-25s By Phone, Email, SMS or WebChat:
The National Youth Agency provides an online information source for young people and all those working with them. It has information about training, education, work, housing, money and health and more. www.nya.org.uk 0116 242 7350
Karen Buck MP
You are also represented by 3 elected councillors in each ward of Westminster City Council - some Labour, mostly Conservative.
Maida Vale, Cllr Rita Begum – email@example.com 0207 641 5371 On the second Thursday of the month 6pm to 7pm at the Maida Vale Estate Office 1 Glasgow House Lanark Road London W9 1QY. On the third Saturday of each month from 11am to 12 Midday at the Paddington Recreational Ground Cafe - Randolph Avenue London W9 1PD.
Harrow Rd, Cllr Ruth Bush – firstname.lastname@example.org, Cllr Guthrie McKie – email@example.com, Cllr Tim Roca – firstname.lastname@example.org - 020 7641 4299 every Saturday between 11am and 12 noon at The Stowe Centre, 258 Harrow Road, W2 5ES, and the Beethoven Centre, 3rd Avenue, W10 4JL. Every Monday from 2-4pm.
Westbourne, Cllr David Boothroyd, email@example.com , Cllr Adam Hug, firstname.lastname@example.org, Cllr Papya Qureshi, email@example.com – 0207 219 2330 every Saturday between 11am and 12 noon at The Stowe Centre, 258 Harrow Road, W2 5ES, and the Beethoven Centre, 3rd Avenue, W10 4JL. Every Monday from 2-4pm.
Church Street, Cllr Barbara Grahame, firstname.lastname@example.org, Cllr Aicha Less, email@example.com, Cllr Aziz Toki, Atoki@westminster.gov.uk - 020 7641 4299 Every Tuesday between 5.30-6.30pm and every Wednesday between 10.30am - 12.30pm at Church Street Library, 67 Church Street.
Queen’s Park – Cllr Paul Dimoldenberg, firstname.lastname@example.org Cllr Patricia McAllister email@example.com, Cllr Barrie Taylor firstname.lastname@example.org – 0207 641 4299, very Saturday between 11am and 12 noon at The Stowe Centre, 258 Harrow Road, W2 5ES and the Beethoven Centre, 3rd Avenue, W10 4JL. Every Monday from 2-4pm.
For details of other Councillor’s contacts/surgeries, please contact Westminster Council.
I hope this information is helpful!
Karen Buck MP
Promoted by Robert Atkinson on behalf of Karen Buck MP at 4G Shirland Mews, Maida Hill, London, W9 3DY. The information used to supply this email is for the use of Karen Buck and will not be passed on to any third party organisation.
Advice Special Sometimes we all need a little help... Every year, the number of people needing help with problems goes up. In 2015, Westminster Citizens Advice alone reported a staggering...
Thank you very much for your e-mail.
Of course I will be there to vote in the debate, although my Human Rights Select Committee meets at the same time and I am may not actually be able to speak on this occasion. However, I can assure you that I have contributed to a number of other recent debates about the NHS, locally and nationally, and will continue to do so!
We face a massive set of overlapping problems in the NHS, the tackling of which has been hindered rather than helped by the expensive and unnecessary reorganisation contained in the 2012 Act. The NHS is now experiencing the worse financial squeeze in its history and if no action is taken faces a shortfall of £20bn by 2020-21. At the same time, local government has been forced to slash spending on social care- i.e. the home and community based services which can help patients be discharged safely from hospital or even prevent them from having to be admitted in the first place. And all the while needs are constantly rising- primarily, though not entirely, because of an ageing population.
Somewhere, now deeply buried underneath all this, lie the bones of some good ideas- the better integration and reshaping of the health and social services to increase specialisms in some areas. The concentration into fewer, better, stroke and trauma services has undoubtedly saved lives. And the building up of primary and community care outside hospital which was the underlying philosophy of the Darzi review under the last Labour government, and which envisaged a big expansion of diagnostic and treatment outside of hospitals were good ideas . And those ideas have, to some extent, fed in to the ‘Shaping a Healthier Future’ plans we now have before us. (‘Shaping a Healthier Future’ is the strategy for North West London’s NHS).
At one level, the NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) are intended to drive that agenda, not just in NW London but across the country, but (and it is a huge ‘But’) a lot has changed since the original concept was set out.
As money has drained out of both the NHS and social care, changes have to be funded by cuts elsewhere. ‘Shaping a Healthier Future’ for NW London envisages the closure of a number of Accident and Emergency units even while demand is rising, and in any event before alternative community based services are fully developed and tested. At my regular meeting with Imperial last week, for example, I learned that the 2016/7 deficit is projected to reach £52m, and, in addition, the Hospital Trust has to find £54m in ‘Cost Improvements’. Our local Clinical Commissioning Groups are deemed to be ‘over-funded’ and will see their budgets fall by 10% over the funding period. Meanwhile, the Better Care Fund, which is shifting some money from hospitals to the community, is simultaneously plugging holes made by cuts in Westminster Council support for social care. We saw all this before, when long-stay hospitals closed in the 1980s without adequate ‘care in the community’ being available- the essence of a good idea undermined in practice.
Westminster Council has been considering the STP proposals via reports to their Health and Well-Being Board, so in a sense, none of this is particularly secret or new. (Here it is, by the way)
However, there has certainly not been an honest presentation to the public of the scale of the financial pressures/cuts, nor the impact of changing patterns of demand. I am sure that the (Conservative) Council doesn’t want to publicise the plans, in order to avoid rocking the boat politically, though on the other hand Hammersmith Council has been outspoken and refused to sign them off.
The NHS does need to continue to change- developments in treatment and changes in the population make that essential. But it will struggle massively without considerable extra investment, not only in acute/hospital services but in primary, community, social and mental health care services as well. We also need to ramp up measures to prevent illness and promote well-being- from tackling air pollution and obesity to better mental health interventions, and give urgent priority to reducing health inequalities.
In the meantime, the worry is that the hospital changes, which affect us in Westminster rather less than they do in places like Hammersmith, (where they have been battling to save Charing Cross Hospital) have been driven more by the need to cut costs and generate receipts from land sales than by a proper plan to improve health care.
As I say, I will certainly vote for the motion later and continue to do all I can to expose the pressures on the NHS. Even under the strain it is unde , there is so much to value and be proud of in our system of healthcare, and we must fight to preserve, protect and improve it.
Karen Buck MP
Thank you very much for your e-mail. Of course I will be there to vote in the debate, although my Human Rights Select Committee meets at the same time and...
Many local residents have been in touch to ask, or express concerns about, the conditions in these blocks, and the effect of the delay in the regeneration programme.
Cllr Grahame and I attended the meeting a few weeks ago and heard complaints about
- the state of the blocks, including issues with the lifts
- cleaning and rubbish in the area, including some of the communal areas.
- problems with boilers/heating and hot water.
- lack of communication about progress of regeneration
I have been very concerned for many years about these blocks (as have your councillors), especially regarding what would happen to them if there were to be delays to the planned development of the area. These fears have been realised to some extent as the dates have slipped.
I thought it would be useful to get a clearer picture from you about what you think, and what concerns you may have, so here is a short survey to gather your views.
Many local residents have been in touch to ask, or express concerns about, the conditions in these blocks, and the effect of the delay in the regeneration programme. Cllr Grahame...
As a regular traveller myself, I share the concerns about the appalling state of the upholstery. Here’s the latest update from Tfl:
Thank you for your email on 9 June about the refurbishment of our Bakerloo line trains.
We do have 36 trains on the Bakerloo line, with seats being changed at 3 or 4 carriages at a time (we have the equivalent of 7 trains completed so far). All carriages are to be completed by the end of the year.
As well as a plan to also improve the ambiance of the carriages over the next few years, by 2020 we will have installed wheelchair bays in selected carriages and destination displays for our customers.
At the end of this month Mark Wild takes over as Managing Director and I know he is very keen to see an end to the old seating on the Bakerloo line.
London Underground & London Rail
As a regular traveller myself, I share the concerns about the appalling state of the upholstery. Here’s the latest update from Tfl: Dear Karen, Thank you for your email on...
Best wishes for a very happy Eid
Karen Buck MP
Best wishes for a very happy Eid Karen Buck MP
Voters in Westminster declared an overwhelming preference for remaining in the EU in the recent referendum, and as someone who campaigned for ‘Remain’ I was saddened and disappointed by the outcome. Britain’s place is in Europe however imperfect its institutions. I fear the damage Brexit will inflict on the economy and on London. I am angry at the ugly and deceitful nature of aspects of the ‘Leave’ campaign - from the infamous UKIP poster to the promise (now dropped) that leaving would free up £350m a week for the NHS. On top of this, like others, I am sickened by the reports of xenophobic abuse and worse that have occurred in recent weeks.
It is obvious that ‘Leave’ campaigners had no proper plan and that the alternatives (and their costs) were not properly set out before the public. Membership of the EEA may offer the trading options we would prefer but this would almost invariably come with conditions, including free movement, which proved unpalatable to many voters. No perfect option exists. Meanwhile, uncertainty has already hit investment and the value of the pound and there are clear signs of economic slowdown.
I am afraid it may not be clear for a while exactly how we can secure the best outcome. However, there are some key points that can be made now:
- The position of European nationals living in the UK must be guaranteed. People’s lives, jobs and families cannot be left in limbo. I’ve raised this in Parliament and was pleased that our Parliamentary motion forced the government to withdraw their opposition, even though this is not legally binding.
- There must be zero-tolerance of racial abuse and harassment. The Mayor of London has taken the strongest possible stand on this, but we can all play our part.
- The British people should have another say- but it would be wrong to ‘re-run’ the referendum. I understand why there are calls for an early 2nd referendum but I am deeply cautious. There may well be some signs of ‘buyer’s remorse’ but could anyone really predict the outcome of a re-run? Anyway, we simply cannot just dismiss the verdict of voters in such a huge democratic exercise, nor the fears and the sense of cultural and economic alienation apparent in parts of our country. We have to take forward the debate about our future relationship with Europe (for there will be one) in a way that listens to the genuine concerns of the voters in the majority of constituencies across the country who opted for ‘Leave’. We must try to build a new consensus.
Meanwhile, there are decisions to be made, such as when the Government invokes Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty - the process which, once triggered, makes Brexit a matter of law. The assumption must be that once the Article 50 notification is given, the UK will be out of the EU in two years or less, with all that implies for trading and other arrangements that have to be renegotiated. Parliament has a huge role to play in this and there should be a vote in Parliament before Article 50 is triggered. Parliament must be involved - across parties and with representation from both ‘Leave/Remain’ sides - to oversee the options and negotiating strategy for the next stage. I don’t want to see Article 50 invoked before Parliament has agreed what the future arrangements will be. We now need time to do the planning which the ‘Leave’ campaign so scandalously failed to do. There should be a further opportunity for the public to have a say on the proposed new relationship with Europe, whether at an election or via a referendum. None of this is going be easy but this is now the challenge and we will rise to it.
At the end of this letter I have drafted a survey to get a broader view on thoughts and priorities. If you could help me by completing it, I would be very grateful.
It would be very helpful to have your thoughts and responses to my survey below:
Voters in Westminster declared an overwhelming preference for remaining in the EU in the recent referendum, and as someone who campaigned for ‘Remain’ I was saddened and disappointed by the...