Hello again, It’s difficult to know where to begin after another chaotic and dreadful week in Westminster. Whatever your views on Brexit, there are businesses in Broxtowe desperately worried about the continuing threat of a “no deal” Brexit and constituents in need of vital medicines who are struggling to get supplies. These are the real life consequences of the unprecedented crisis we are in and the lack of leadership and certainty that we desperately need.
As you may have heard, I had a serious death threat posted to my home in which the author made it clear they were on my “doorstep”. As my partner is away this weekend I have been advised not to stay alone overnight at home. As it happens, it’s the People’s Vote march in London tomorrow and given both my daughters now live in London, I will be busy! But it cannot be acceptable to be told by the Police Commander responsible for Parliamentary security that he is seriously concerned for my safety and that of many other MPs.
I was planning to come to Broxtowe for the day today but all the trains out of St Pancras were cancelled until earlier this afternoon. I was looking forward to visiting our Mosque (the Muslim Centre in Beeston) in solidarity with the victims of the terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand. I will now wait until next Friday.
I am sure I am not alone in being sick and tired, not just of Brexit, but in despair of what is increasingly feeling like a country and indeed a world full of hate, bigotry and intolerance.
In relation to the latter, we must remember that those of us who believe in tolerance and hope are the majority. People in the United Kingdom, and across the world, must not allow ourselves to be dominated by an aggressive, more noisy, and unpleasant minority.
Events relating to Brexit have been intolerable. I met the Prime Minister on Wednesday. This was the meeting Jeremy Corbyn refused to join because it included Chuka Umunna who is the de facto leader of The Independent Group. I think you may share my view that Mr Corbyn’s attitude would have been more at home in a school playground and was all the more appalling given he’s been happy enough in the past to sit and chat with people who support terrorist groups. In any event, it was clear the Prime Minister had no Brexit plan B and is incapable of providing the leadership and direction our country needs.
Theresa May’s speech later that day was not only full of untruths (the Government dictates what we debate and legislate for in Parliament and many MPs are desperate to change our laws on knives, secure more money for our schools and integrate social care in to our NHS), but was also hugely divisive. I am sorry to say Theresa May sank to the bottom of the political pond in trying to set up Members of Parliament against “the people” in some Donald Trump like way. The uncomfortable truth is that Theresa is the author of her misfortune.
Our country now finds itself completely in the hands of the EU who have set our domestic agenda on Brexit. We will not leave next week as was promised, whether Mrs May wins on her withdrawal agreement or not. If she loses again (and there may not even be a vote), I have supported a cross party move for a series of “indicative votes”. This is a device whereby MPs can decide what the majority of us agree on. I think it is worth reminding everyone that I repeatedly said in Parliament, quite literally years ago, that we should form a consensus on Brexit at the beginning of the process.
My concern is that any votes will not be about the withdrawal agreement (which will form an International treaty) but our future relationship with the EU (which can be revoked once we leave the EU) and the majority of people and MPs do not support the Government’s Withdrawal Agreement, notably the Irish backstop.
Taking this matter back to the British people is increasingly looking like the only sensible option. I appreciate many millions of people are signing an online petition (the details are here) to Revoke Article 50 but, for the moment, I still believe a People’s Vote is the better option.
Returning to where I began, the abuse and threats have increased this week and I think it’s worth reminding some of the usual suspects who receive this email newsletter and then send me unpleasant and inaccurate replies of the following:
I have never voted to stop Brexit (this may in turn upset or disappoint a larger number of people who receive this email!). I voted to trigger Article 50 and I voted for the Withdrawal Act, both of which, in my opinion, honour the EU Referendum result.
I get abuse because of what I say and it’s a very sorry state of affairs in our country when an MP is subjected to serious death threats because of their opinions – namely doing their job.
Have a great weekend, As ever, Anna
I was appalled to hear that Chilwell’s Phoenix FC had all their kit and equipment stolen this weekend. I contacted the Club’s co-Chair Richard Ward and the good news is that a local business has offered to supply all the kit. I’ve contacted the police for an update on the investigation to catch the thieves. Meanwhile, the Club is short of equipment and if you can help them in any way please let me know.
Conspiracy theories are nothing new and extremists on both the left and right feed on them. By way of example, the extreme right put about all manner of nonsenses about Members of Parliament in support of “populist” ideas that we are all part of a corrupt elite.
The current fake news relates to MPs “expenses”. By way of an example, when I tweet out my support from the stands of Notts County for “The Pies”, I invariably get replies stating I claim my ticket (I am actually a season ticket holder) on my MP expenses. This is a lie as you can see in my “expenses” here
You will see that £137,570.78 of my total “expenses” of £195,405.57 are the salaries of my team. I claim for a small flat in London within walking distance of Parliament and my rail fares. My office costs cover the constituency and parliamentary office. So, apart from my flat and travel, my so called “expenses” are wrongly termed as they are the costs of running an office and team so that we offer the best possible service to all constituents.
The overwhelming majority of the work done by me and my office, is unrelated to politics never mind party politics. I rarely mention that work in this email newsletter (or anywhere else) as it relates to the private circumstances of constituents – the person who has suffered a reduction in benefits because of an error by a Government agency, someone in desperate need of a visa to see a dying relative, complaints against poor service in one of our hospitals or a local GP surgery. This casework makes up the vast majority of my work as your MP and frankly it’s invariably the most important because my team and I, sort out the real life problems of real people. Dealing with the conspiracy theorists and their nasty emails and social media postings is a distraction from that real work in the real world.