Having a bad cold and practically losing my voice earlier this week wasn’t helpful but to all intents and purposes that didn’t matter.
What mattered was doing the right thing by my constituents on Tuesday; listening to their voice and voting accordingly.
When three out of four amendments were withdrawn in order to allow a clear vote on the Prime Minister’s Brexit Deal, I breathed a sigh of relief; a clear shot at what the people of Hartlepool, both remainers and leavers, wanted me to do was all I needed and I duly voted against the deal.
Don’t get me wrong I would have voted against it anyway, but the strange symbiotic myriad of emails arriving, even on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, really did show me just how the people of the town, on both sides of the divide, felt about it.
The deal basically put us into a perpetual spin; locked for an undetermined amount of time in the Customs Union with no right of say or control; having to obey by the rules of the EU without having a place at the table and paying them billions for the privilege.
I agree that voting the deal down gives Parliament precious little time to fix things, and although we may be helter skeltering towards a no deal Brexit, at least we’ve got that roadblock out of the way one month after we should have voted on it.
After two years of botched negotiations and a month’s delay on the so called ‘Meaningful Vote’ engineered by the Prime Minister, it is the Government who are responsible for the mess we are in and will be responsible for all of the consequences a hard Brexit may bring.
Surviving the vote of no confidence means nothing. Propped up by the DUP, they would always survive that one, but let us not be fooled by yet another ploy on their part to detract from the truth.
The PM’s deal was not just defeated, it was voted down massively which just shows how bad a deal it was.
Obviously it’s not over yet and there is a lot of ground to cover before Brexit day, but I am determined to continue doing my bit to get there in line with the continued majority of my constituents’ wishes and in line with my very well recorded principles of leaving with protection for jobs and businesses, workers and human rights, environmental protections, public services and the economy.
The so called meaningful vote is now meaningless, as it was always destined to be. We now have to redouble our efforts and, as I always have done, I will continue to keep on checking the barometer that is the people of Hartlepool; not pressure groups or polling surveys from outside the town and other people who think they know better than the people I represent but the people who, even as recently as this week in a Mail survey, consistently have been wanting out of the EU.
On policing and crime, on poverty and Universal Credit, the town has been under the microscope of media interest recently and not for the first time.
Whatever you think of Brexit, there are big social issues out there which need to be tackled as well. Brexit will never be a cure all for the things that blight our town but we cannot afford to make things worse. We have to make things better for the good of all the people and the betterment of society as a whole.
As usual, even if I disagree I will continue to listen.