*First published in the Daily Record newspaper on the 10th of July 2018*

 

David Davis: gone. Boris Johnson: gone. Theresa May: well, it’s only a matter of time.

What an extraordinary day in British politics we witnessed yesterday.

Even in these turbulent times, where chaos rules, this was a new level of mayhem.

After two of the architects of the Brexit disaster quit and left others to fix the mess, the Prime Minister is now fighting for survival: in office, but not in power.

Her short reign is in its twilight, having been saddled with the impossible task of finding a way through the Brexit mayhem bestowed upon her by David Cameron.

Around the world, Boris’s buffoonery will not be missed. He should have resigned months ago, not least when he wrongly claimed that British woman Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was in an Iranian jail after training journalists in the country.
But for him and David Davis to run away now, as the Brexit negotiations reach a critical point, is utter cowardice. Make no mistake: every job lost is still on them.

Yesterday’s chaos was triggered following a Chequers showdown with Theresa May’s dysfunctional Cabinet last week, which produced a political fudge that pleased nobody. Too ‘soft’ for the hardline Brexiteers who want to pull up the drawbridge and are seemingly perfectly content to destroy jobs, and unacceptable for those of us who actually care about growing the economy.
It’s also been presented as a Brexit ‘deal’, when it is nothing of the sort. It’s a negotiating position to take to Brussels, that seeks to cherry-pick our future relationship with the EU.

The new Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab will very quickly discover that he has no chips to play when he sits round the table with the other 27 member states. It doesn’t matter who is selling it, Brussels isn’t going to buy it.
The country deserves so much better.

This is Labour’s moment to step up to the plate, and present our party as a government-in-waiting.

My party needs to offer the country a clear alternative to the Tory chaos on Brexit.

Talk of a ‘jobs-first Brexit’ must be ditched, because it’s nonsense – there is no variation of Brexit that puts jobs first.

It is beyond doubt that the least worst option for our economy is to remain part of the European Single Market. Yesterday’s resignations offer us the perfect opportunity to move immediately to this sensible policy position, demonstrating that we are the party with a serious plan; a plan that will be accepted by our allies in Europe and save tens of thousands of jobs here in Scotland and the UK.

Ultimately, however, no option is better than remaining in the EU.

I was pleased that Labour’s Brexit spokesperson, Keir Starmer, confirmed at the weekend that a People’s Vote on the final deal remains on the table.

It’s time for Labour to embrace this.

We are witnessing the dying days of Theresa May’s premiership. Who is going to step up and end the Brexit madness?

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While Theresa May was working on a Brexit fudge at Chequers on Friday, Scotland’s Children’s Minister Maree Todd was upsetting the Tories with her tablet recipe. Yes, you did read that correctly.

They were as hyper as a classroom of three-year-olds after a bag of blue smarties, frothing at the hypocrisy of Ms Todd cooking up 2lbs of sugar just 48 hours after the SNP had been arguing for tougher measures to tackle Scotland’s obesity problem.

The SNP fought back, suggesting that what ultimately made children unhealthy was the poverty inflicted on them by the UK Government and all the Minister was doing was showing a little love by sharing a family recipe. It’s clearly the silly season in the political world with politicians spending too much time in the sun.

For what it’s worth, I thought it was a lovely gesture from the Minister to make some sweet treats for a camp of care experienced kids. However, it doesn’t make up for her failure to help one of my care experienced constituents who desperately needed her to intervene to keep a roof over her head. In a letter sent to me, Ms Todd washed her hands of it and said it was a matter for the council, despite the fact it was her government which passed the laws that gave that young person a right to remain in care in the first place. That’s a taste of her hypocrisy and it’ll take more than sweet treats to fix that.

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It’s now been three years since Lamara Bell and John Yuill were found in a car by the side of the M9. They’d been there for three days according to reports, as calls to the police reporting the car were left without response.

I think we all understand that the police and the Crown need appropriate time and space to conduct proper investigations into such horrendous failings as these. However there comes a point where the public have a right to know just why it’s taking so long. In addressing that, the authorities would also allay growing fears and concerns that there’s perhaps an alternative motive to why it’s taking so much time.

Whilst a very different case, the investigation into the death of Sheku Bayou in a Kirkcaldy police cell still sits in a file on the desk of the Crown Office, three years on.

I hope Scotland’s new Justice Secretary, Humza Yousaf is asking some hard and probing questions of the Crown Office.
Faith in the system must be maintained, but for those looking for answers it’s dwindling – and fast.

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New figures show that over 930,000 children in Scotland are entitled to Child Benefit. That’s how many children would gain from Labour’s policy to top up the benefit by £5 a week, lifting tens of thousands of children out of poverty.

Every time these new statistics come out, it’s a reminder of the difference a Labour government would make. With each day that passes, a General Election feels more likely – as does the chance to give these kids the future they deserve.

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Harry Kane looks like a dead cert for the World Cup’s golden boot, but the star of the show is more likely to be Gareth Southgate. His cool, unassuming demeanour and wardrobe of snazzy waistcoats have captured the hearts of even the most die-hard ‘Anyone But England’ fans.

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