On Thursday night, I wholeheartedly voted for the amendment submitted by the leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn which opposed the Queen’s Speech put forward by Theresa May and her Conservative government, as it did not include any measures to:
- End austerity and the cuts to public services
- Reverse falling living standards and inequalities in our society
- Implement an energy price cap
- Commit to a proper infrastructure investment strategy for the whole country
- Recognise that “no deal” is the very worst outcome for the UK in Brexit negotiations
- Ensure that the outcome of any deal to leave the EU prioritises jobs and the economy and delivers the exact same benefits that the UK has now as a member of the Single Market and Customs Union
- Maintain the existing rights of EU nationals living in the UK, and UK nationals living in Europe
- Ensuring that the richest individuals and biggest corporations pay their fair share in tax
- Scrap tuition fees at universities, restore the Education Maintenance Allowance and nurses’ bursaries
- Increase the minimum wage to a real living wage of £10 per hour by 2020
- End the public sector pay cap
The Tories’ Queen’s Speech is a threadbare document that contains nothing to help the people of Durham or the country. Theresa May has dropped nearly all the commitments she made in her election manifesto, and continues to show what a weak position she is in, and how little confidence her Government has in itself.
Labour would instead bring forward a Queen’s Speech that would actually address the big issues facing the country rather than shying away from taking any decisions. I want to invest in the public services that everyone in Durham uses, rather than cutting them to breaking point, ensure we pay our doctors, nurses, firefighters and policemen the wages they deserve, and build homes that people can afford to live in.
That is why I voted for the Labour amendment and against the Queen’s Speech, and I will continue to stand up for the City of Durham against the Conservative Government’s unjust cuts and continued austerity.
Also, having signed Stella Creasy’s amendment to the Queen’s Speech which highlighted the inequality of access to healthcare services for women in Northern Ireland, I am delighted that the Government has been forced to change its stance today. Previously, women from Northern Ireland – where it is still illegal for women to have an abortion – travelling to Great Britain for an abortion were charged £900. Justine Greening, the Minister for Women and Equalities, has said that the Government will now fund this instead.