HELLO and welcome to my weekly View from the House for Tamworth Informed.
As ever it was another busy week in Westminster, with late night voting and the 29th March getting closer. However, as you will read in my week below, I am very keen to not let Brexit get in the way getting good work be done in Tamworth. If you flick on the news, look at your Facebook or read the paper you would think Brexit will never end, but life in Tamworth will continue as it will in the rest of the country and so we must keep working together to make Tamworth an even better place.
On Monday another EU Withdrawal piece of legislation was brought to the House of Commons, we debated and voted on the trade of chemicals with the EU post Brexit. Whilst not an alluring subject or exciting to the media, it is another example of pragmatically getting on with the job of preparing for our EU departure. We also received news that a new ID card for armed forces veterans, which will help them access specialist support and services, has started to be issued to service leavers. From the end of February, any personnel who have left the military since December 2018 will automatically be given one of the new ID cards, which will allow them to maintain a tangible link to their career in the forces.
The cards allow veterans to easily verify their service to the NHS, their local authority, and charities, helping them to access support and services where needed. All other veterans will be able to apply for a new ID card by the end of this year, to mark their time in the armed forces. With the Mercian regiment on our very doorstep and many ex-forces family choosing Tamworth and the surrounding villages to live, I strongly support this news from the Government.
As many of you will have seen on the news, Tuesday saw the Prime Minister update MPs on her Brexit negotiations but also the three paths we have ahead of us. On March 12thwe will vote on the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal, if this doesn’t pass then on the 13thwe are voting on a No Deal Brexit and then if that doesn’t pass on the Thursday we vote on an extension to Article 50. The enormity of that week cannot be overestimated but it will set the course for Britain’s future. I will be working and persuading my colleagues to vote for the Prime Minister’s deal, as it respects the referendum result, removes us from the customs union and free movement of people. It also will provide certainty to small, medium and large businesses in Tamworth and across the country. Those who voted for Brexit, I included, have the opportunity to see that vote become a reality with the deal on the table. Leaving the European Union is within our grasp, and we mustn’t let the perfect become the enemy of the good. We certainly must try to avoid any delay which will be bad for business and bad for democracy.
Wednesday means PMQs, but for me the true question grilling was seen later in the day. On a day that almost felt like summer, I was delighted to welcome Rawlett School to the Houses of Parliament. The pupils, under the brilliant stewardship of the Parliamentary Education Centre, got to experience the story of Parliament in our new world-class education facility. Later they used the opportunity to put me in the hot seat during our Q&A. At school the pupils do a module on the history and workings of Parliament, and I could tell! There were some in depth and interesting questions and I hope I could answer them the best a politician could.
In the evening Labour brought forward an amendment that would see their vision of a Customs Union with the European Union become more of a reality. Not only have they now backed a second referendum, but now they are putting forward plans to keep us in the Customs Union. Day by day it is becoming more evident that Labour are deliberately frustrating and even trying to reverse Brexit, ignoring their own voters and all those in Tamworth who voted for Brexit or who just want to respect the result.