Alas, it is still almost totally unclear what Brexit will look like. The Prime Minister still has no idea. The longer this goes on, the weaker our country’s bargaining position will be.
The House of Commons has created a new Select Committee to scrutinise the work of the Government’s new Brexit Department. Labour has 5 of the 20 MPs on that Committee, and I am pleased that both Pat and Emma were voted onto it by Labour MPs.
I have been focusing on trying to hold the government to account in the Commons, by asking questions both Written and Oral; on issues such as NHS funding (the wretched PFI projects), animal welfare (badgers) and the environment (Heathrow; nuclear power stations).
Because I spoke so much in the debate on the Health Service Medical Supplies (Costs) Bill 2016, I have been put on the “Bill Committee”. That is the committee of about two dozen MPs who scrutinise the Bill line-by-line. This Bill builds on the Labour government’s NHS Act 2006 which aimed to prevent profiteering by firms which supply the NHS; e.g. big pharmacy companies, and equipment suppliers. Especially for this government, the Bill is a public recognition that free markets need regulating. As I said in the debate to the Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt MP:
“I voted for the 2006 Act, but I have to say to the Secretary of State that profit controls are pretty draconian, particularly for a Conservative Government. The Government appear to be extending them when we have historically dealt with what society refracted through this House as excessive profits through taxation, such as the windfall tax on banks and so on. The Secretary of State now proposes to extend profit controls to a major part of the economy, which would no doubt be loved by the Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition. To a socialist such as me, a Conservative Secretary of State doing that seems a bit counterintuitive. Could he say a bit more about why he is extending profit controls? Mr Hunt replied that: “Our march on to the centre ground carries on apace. [Laughter.] In response to the hon. Gentleman’s fascinating point, I gently reassure him that our approach will be fair and proportionate. This is not about bringing in wide profit controls.” (Hansard 24.10.16)
How sad so many USA voters supported a candidate who, amongst other nasty views, believes that it is acceptable to molest women.
Note: Mr Trump’s election may presage the election of the Front National’s Marine Le Pen as president of France in May 2017. If she is elected, France will leave the EU and it will collapse.
The commission is proposing a Wolverhampton West seat comprising the wards of Blakenhall, Bushbury North, Graiseley, Merry Hill, Oxley, Park, Penn, Regis, and Wightwick. In the Wednesfield & Willenhall seat are to be St Peter’s ward plus 5 other Wolverhampton wards and 3 Walsall wards. In the Wolverhampton South & Coseley seat are to be 5 Wolverhampton wards and 3 Dudley wards.
Although I should be sad no longer to represent St Peter’s ward in Parliament, I have made a written submission to – and appeared in front of – the Boundary Commission to support these changes, as has the Labour Party’s West Midlands Regional Office.
St Peter’s encompasses the city centre, so I have suggested that the name should not be “Wednesfield & Willenhall”, but Wolverhampton North, Wednesfield, & Willenhall” or “Wolverhampton North & Willenhall”.
I should be grateful if in the near future members and registered supporters – particularly the newer ones – could let me know how they might be able to assist and what training (if any) they need for the campaigning they will soon be doing for the Labour candidate in the West Midlands Combined Authority mayoral election in May 2017, Sîon Simon.
Rob Marris MP