I have written to @neil_parish to represent the 7,000 of his constituents who have signed the petition to #RevokeArticle50. We are the people, too. Listen to our voices of common sense.
I am writing to represent nearly seven thousand of your constituents who have signed the petition on the Government website to revoke the Article 50 notification to exit the EU. This is the largest number who have ever signed any petition. Across Devon, over 100,000 people have supported it, and nationally the total is now 4.8 million.
I know you have taken the position that the 2016 result means that you have to support Brexit, and you have backed Theresa May’s deal. But that deal, which no one likes, has now clearly failed. Mrs May is reported to be prepared to back a No Deal Brexit, but I am sure you know that this could mean: shortages of medicines; failures of food supply chains in Devon; lambs slaughtered because they can’t be exported to Europe; a severe shock to our national economy; and violence in Northern Ireland, with Devon police sent to the province to help maintain order.
Since we have only a fortnight to prevent this self-inflicted disaster, I urge you to support a policy of ‘Revoke and Rethink’. Revoke the Article 50 notification to the EU, and give everyone time to reflect on the mess that the current Brexit proposals have caused. If in due course, a Government produces a coherent new proposal for Brexit, and can negotiate that with the EU, we can put it to the people and negotiate it with the EU.
For now, however, it is time to call a halt to this national humiliation. We, the thousands of your constituents who have signed the ‘revoke’ petition, are part of ‘the people’ too. Please listen to our voices of common sense and help ensure that our country comes safely through the impending crisis.
County Council leader rightly lashes out at Government’s miserable funding offer to SW – but Devon Tories’ failure to speak out over Brexit has allowed May to take them for granted.
All credit to John Hart for his forthright comments on the insulting offer to the region. But it’s difficult not to say I told you so – I and other opposition councillors have been urging him to speak out for the last two years, but time and again – even last month – he and his Cabinet have (like Theresa May) put Tory party unity before the interests of Devon.
What John says now is right – but it is too little and too late, unless coupled with real pressure on Devon Tory MPs to stop the looming Brexit disaster.
Tory MP complains that Government isn’t giving Brexit bribes to South West MPs – because the region voted Conservative!
The Government has announced its bribes to towns in order to persuade MPs, mainly Labour, to vote for its miserable Brexit deal. Although it claims to have used a “need-based formula,” the South West is to receive the second-lowest allocation of cash (£33 million) despite being among England’s most deprived regions. Coincidentally, it also has very few Labour MPs — and Sheryll Murray, the Tory MP for South East Cornwall, appears to have spotted the discrepancy. “The fact this money appears to be directly routed to Labour-voting areas smacks of pork-barrel politics, and the public will know that,” Murray complains to The Times. “It would be a crying shame if Conservative-voting communities were being disadvantaged because of the way they voted.”
Devon’s food supply, NHS, farming, etc. are dangerously exposed to No Deal Brexit – the County Council must tell Theresa May on Thursday to stop this irresponsible course of action
There are mounting fears that if Theresa May allows a ‘No Deal’ Brexit to happen on 29th March, Devon will suffer serious harm including:
- shortages of imported foods, especially as Devon is near the end of many supply lines
- escalating staff shortages in the NHS and social care as European nurses and care workers are deterred from coming to take up jobs
- shortage of workers in the tourism and hospitality sectors – and care workers migrating to these jobs because of higher pay
- thousands of tons of animal feed blocked from coming in through Plymouth
- lamb exports to Europe prevented by Brexit red tape
- exporting businesses unprepared for the extra bureaucracy
- more business failures over the next year or so (Brexit has already been implicated in the Flybe, Barden, Ambrosia and Appledore crises).
After Devon County Council leader John Hart said in January that the council ‘hadn’t got a clue yet‘ about planning for a ‘No Deal’ Brexit, its chief executive was appointed by the Government – with barely 6 weeks to go before the UK crashed out of the EU – to coordinate local government responses in the South West. But whatever councils do at this late stage, they can only mitigate, not prevent, the likely harms.
Even if No Deal is averted, Brexit has already led to an economic slowdown and job losses, as well as discrimination against Europeans living in Devon. Exit on the terms agreed by May will be less bad than No Deal, but far worse than the bespoke membership of the EU which the UK currently has. When County Councillors consider the situation on Thursday, they have a duty to tell May to take urgent steps to prevent No Deal – and allow the public to vote on whether they want her Brexit or her remain in the EU.
At yesterday’s DCC Cabinet meeting, Leader John Hart answered three questions I had put in writing about estimated risks from Theresa May’s Brexit and No Deal, about help to businesses for No Deal, and emergency planning for disruption to fuel, food and medical supplies in Devon as a result of No Deal.
Cllr Hart did not answer any of my questions. When I asked when he would answer them, he said ‘We haven’t got a clue yet’ about what is going to happen, and that there would be a meeting next week, with just 10 weeks left to when the UK will crash out of the EU with No Deal if no change is made.
It can be seen that there are no protections in place to protect Devon from the effects of a No Deal. Economy Cabinet member Cllr Rufus Gilbert said ‘we can’t plan for a hypothetical’. Yet No Deal is the default scenario for 29th March.
This is why Devon and Dorset MPs like Ben Bradshaw, Sarah Wollaston and Oliver Letwin are absolutely right to try to block No Deal. I told Cabinet it was irresponsible of them not to support these moves.
Finance (No. 3) Bill – Minor amendments in consequence of EU withdrawal (8 Jan 2019)
Voted (no) against preventing the Government implementing the “no
deal” provisions of Clause 89 without the explicit consent of
Parliament for such an outcome. (division #287; result was 303 aye, 296
Devon NHS agrees to pay EU Settlement Scheme fees for NHS employees, in bid to keep key EU doctors and nurses – a welcome move, but the Government’s toxic anti-immigrant policies are working in the opposite direction
The Devon NHS’s Sustainability and Transformation Partnership has agreed to pay EU Settlement Scheme fees for NHS employees. More than 1,200 people from the European Union work in the NHS in Devon, in essential roles such as doctors, nurses, domestics, health care assistants, and catering, administration and estates workers.
- ‘We want to make it is as easy as possible for our European Union colleagues to stay in the UK so all NHS organisations in Devon will cover the cost of the EU Settlement Scheme application for their employees and their employees’ close family members,’ says the STP.
Their key message is, ‘Whatever the outcome of the Brexit process, the 1,200 people from the European Union who work in Devon’s NHS are hugely valued and we want them to stay.’ If only the Government weren’t sending out the opposite message, with Theresa May trying to stop anyone earning less than £30,000 a year (as many NHS workers do) from coming to the UK, and propagating toxic attitudes to Europe which are driving people out.