I want to say a huge ‘thank you’ to our community.
I’ve spent today up in my office in parliament preparing for the difficult week ahead and for the last hour I’ve read through many of the messages you’ve sent me in the last couple of days.
There is so much focus on the hate and abuse of people in public life that we forget there is also an equal opposite: extraordinary kindness, consideration, and generosity of spirit.
Today alone I’ve been offered numerous trips to the pub for a drink to take my mind off things, someone has offered to drop homemade food off at my flat because they’re concerned I might not be eating properly, and one very lovely family have asked me to join them at home for dinner.
And all from people I’ve never met before, isn’t that amazing!
So I thought I’d take a moment to say ‘thank you’ to everyone for showing me this kindness. It’s a reminder of just how much good there is throughout our community at a time when the challenges we face seems to dominate.
Today I’ve also spoken with loads of MPs from different parties trying to gauge where people are as we approach one of the most important week’s in our country’s politics for decades. I’ve been reading and re-reading information and reports, I’ve prepared for speeches, and I’ve even tidied up my desk! It’s not everyone’s idea of a fun Sunday, but at least I feel a little more steeled for the roller-coaster ride that the coming days will provide.
It is difficult to understand what will happen, but it’s not your fault if you don’t! Tomorrow parliament has control of votes and it looks like a drive to gain ‘indicative votes’ will be successful but there are also possible votes on no-deal and the Article 50 delay.
The prime minister will make a statement too at about 3.30pm and we have no idea what she will announce. She could say she’s bringing the ‘meaningful vote’ back on Tuesday, in which case Phil Wilson and I would seek to amend it, but that’s unlikely. Who knows what else she might spring on us.
On Wednesday we’ll probably debate ‘indicative votes’ at which time we’ll have a whole series of options for Brexit put before us and then choose which ones we like after four hours debate. We don’t yet know how those options will be selected, what those options are, or how we will technically achieve the vote.
But think about this: 1,000 days after the referendum, parliament will be given the opportunity to say what it feels is in the best interests of our country as a way forward….and we’re being asked two days before the law says we’re supposed to actually leave. Who on earth could defend the way this mess has been handled by government?
On Thursday it looks like the government will finally bring forward the legislation to extend our membership of the EU because we are due to crash out the very next day and the only way to stop that happening will be via changing the law due to the ridiculous way the Brexit legislation was formulated.
And Friday? Who knows, except that every MP has been told to keep the day clear in case we are needed for an emergency session of parliament.
If all this sounds a bit confusing and very chaotic, well, you’re right! It is. Considering this is the week we were due to leave the EU you’d think government would have the faintest idea of what parliament would actually be doing. But this is how bad things have become.
I will be fighting for you, citizens and voters, to be involved in whatever emerges from these crucial steps. The democratic mandate given back in 2016 is wearing thin and I cannot see how our country can heal without the people being involved once more. This can’t be a Westminster stitch-up. So whether it’s the ‘Kyle-Wilson’ amendment against Theresa May’s deal or the establishment of the principal of a confirmatory vote, this is what I’m going to be working my socks off for this week.