No Confidence in the Prime Minister

Yesterday, January 16, I was asked to make the closing speech on the motion of No Confidence in the Prime Minister.



You can watch the speech in full by clicking on the video above or read a transcript here.

 

Here's an extract...

"The Rt Hon Lady will be forever known as the 'nothing has changed Prime Minister'. But something must change. The truth is she is too set in her ways, too aloof to lead. She lacks the imagination and agility to bring people with her. She lacks the authority on the world stage to negotiate this deal. Ultimately she has failed.

It is not through a lack of effort. It is not through a lack of determination. And I think the country recognises that effort. In fact, the country feels sorry for the Prime Minister. I feel sorry for the Prime Minister. But she cannot confuse pity for political legitimacy, sympathy for sustainable support.

The evidence is clear. Everyone in this chamber, no matter which lobby they go through tonight, knows in their hearts this Prime Minister is not capable of getting a deal through. That is why we need something new. That is why we need a General Election."


Nothing. Has. Changed.

If you'd like to receive this direct to your inbox, you can sign up here.

Read more

The Inconvenient Truth

If you'd like to receive this direct to your inbox, you can sign up here.

Read more

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

If you'd like to receive this direct to your inbox, you can sign up here.

Read more

I could really do with your help...

If you'd like to receive this direct to your inbox, you can sign up here.


Read more

The dark side of Facebook

If you'd like to receive this direct to your inbox, you can sign up here.

1


The dark side of Facebook



Dark money, as we have seen through the Trump election and the EU referendum, poses a grave threat to democracies all over the world.

Today we learn of a global web of alt-right pressure groups, think-tanks, Putin-controlled Russian trolls, and a US tech billionaire using their wealth and influence to propagate a cult movement around one particularly hideous goon in our country.

Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, aka Tommy Robinson, is founder of the English Defence League and a vile anti-Islamist. He is also the chosen puppet of this global fascist movement and, as of last month, an adviser to Ukip. 

But it's not just the dark money that is funding Yaxley-Lennon.  Today's Guardian investigation reveals that he has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds around the world, in broad daylight, through the Facebook Donate button - a tool solely designed for charity.



Facebook's contempt for democratic accountability is once again to the fore. Single-handedly its founder Mark Zuckerberg is - through his contempt for social responsibility - making the strongest case for an independent and powerful social media regulator.

Facebook has now withdrawn Yaxley-Lennon's access to the donate tool. But Zuckerberg needs to go much further. 

Today I call on him to give a full explanation of how this dire breach of Facebook regulation occurred, pledge that it will never happen again, and, as an apology, make a match-fund donation to Hope not hate.

 

Read more

Scraping the barrel of austerity

If you'd like to receive this direct to your inbox, you can sign up here.

 

1


Scraping the barrel of austerity

 

I don't often start the newsletter with a call-to-arms. But the more I think about the plan to scrap free TV licences for the over 75s, the angrier I get.

Firstly, it is a full frontal attack on some of the poorest, most vulnerable and lonely people in our society, many of whom rely upon their TV to keep in touch with the outside world.

Secondly, it's the fact that the Tories are knowingly breaking an election pledge they made less than two years ago to maintain the free licence benefit.

But what really sticks in the craw for me is that the Government are using the BBC as cover to effectively scrape another £750m in austerity cuts.

The BBC's official consultation even asks people to help them decide whether the TV licence should be means-tested.




The sub-contracting of austerity management out by the Tories to the BBC is a shameless and cynical abrogation of the government's responsibilities.

If you agree with me, please take a minute to fill out this form pledging your support for my campaign to keep the TV licence free for the over 75s.

Read more

Standing with Harry

If you'd like to receive this direct to your inbox, you can sign up here.

 

1


Standing with Harry



There have been so many wonderful messages of love and support on social media this week for the indomitable RAF vet and Labour activist Harry Leslie Smith who has been very poorly in hospital in Canada.

The hashtag #IStandWithHarry has been trending around the world while his son John has been using Harry's account to keep us updated from bedside in Ontario. The latest is that Harry, who has been touring the world highlighting the plight of refugees,  is doing well - which is really good news.

He may be 95 but it is far too difficult to imagine a world without Harry engaging with his 250,000 Twitter followers, championing the NHS, speaking up for refugees and decrying austerity.



His last missive said: "I don't care if I die on this refugee tour. I've had a full life. What angers me is there are millions of refugees whose lives and hopes have been thwarted by war. If I can make a little bit of difference in that, I've done my job."

Harry makes a difference every day by inspiring and challenging us. Through his wisdom of years and extraordinary life experience during the Great Depression and World War Two, Harry also reminds us of the values we should always hold dearest, and fight for the hardest.

          
  Harry and I in 2015 - (He's the healthy
  looking one on the left)

I had the honour of sharing a platform with Harry three years ago during the General Election campaign just after he wrote his brilliant book Harry's Last Stand. He's a truly great man.

And I am sure you would like to join with me and wishing Harry a speedy and full recovery.

Read more

The Age of Brexterity

1


The Age of Brexterity

 

There can't have been many more dispiriting weeks in politics than the one we've just witnessed. Theresa May's disastrous "deal" has plunged her party, and her Cabinet, to new lows of backstabbing, disloyalty and sectarianism.

The ultimate betrayal, however, has been of the people of the UK. People voted to leave the European Union. But they didn’t vote for food shortages, problems with medical supplies, the loss of workers' rights, or not to be able to sell goods to the European markets. And they voted to bring sovereignty back to the UK, not to see sovereignty taken away.

Yet that is where we sit today, facing arguably the biggest peacetime crisis in this country's history. The PM doesn't even appear to have a majority in her own Cabinet, let alone her own party - and definitely not in the House of Commons.

If she can't get her disastrous deal through Parliament, then the country needs a general election. If we don’t get an election, then - in line with Labour conference policy - Jeremy Corbyn, Keir Starmer, John McDonnell and I have all been explicit that a people’s vote is still on the table.

What is absolutely certain is we in the Labour party cannot support this deeply flawed deal which will leave working people facing a double whammy - the callous Tory cuts of austerity alongside the calamitous threat of collapsing economic investment caused by this failed Brexit.

The Age of Brexterity is dawning and it needs to be stopped.

 

Read more

1


The sacrifice we shall never forget



(Dartmouth Park Remembrance Service this morning) 

It is both a privilege and a duty, shared by all of us, to honour the sacrifice of all those who served in The Great War which ended on November 11th 1918. 

Today, as we mark the centenary of the end of what was then the greatest military conflict the world had ever seen, I was honoured to lay a wreath at the war memorial in West Bromwich in Dartmouth Park.

Earlier this week I was asked to speak on behalf of Her Majesty’s Opposition in the House of Commons debate to mark Armistice Day. I used the occasion to thank those organisations like the Royal British Legion who have done so much to recognise the sacrifice and the contribution of the First World War generation.

The Legion was formed just after the war. The poppy, of Flanders fields, is their emblem.

But they do not just commemorate. They also run impressive modern campaigns relevant to today’s veterans too, providing them with financial and emotional support.

What is most remarkable about them is not just the inspiring work they do in the days and weeks leading up to Remembrance Sunday. It’s the work they do all year round. Remembrance should be something we do all year round.

My call to speak in the House came after an address from the Bishop at Lambeth, Rt Revd Tim Thornton, who said: 

"War starts in the hearts and minds and souls of men and women like us but peace too starts in the hearts and minds and souls of men and women like us."

Taking up the Bishop's theme, I responded by saying: " Let us not just speak of peace but let each and every one of us in this House be the peace makers."

To be part of these centenary commemorations, honouring the Fallen from our communities and all across the world, has been the most humbling experience.

We owe so much to all those who served, and all those who gave their lives, in the Great War. One hundred years later, they still have much to teach us. 

(You can watch a clip of my words to the House here, or the full speech here.)

Read more