Uncertain times ahead

In my 20 years in Parliament I cannot remember a more uncertain time.  The parliamentary arithmetic required that the Conservatives sought a deal with the DUP to stay in office.  Pursuing the DUP risks unsettling the peace process which demands British government impartiality.  The deal was underpinned with £1 billion to aid development in Northern Ireland.  If that’s the case then regions like ours also deserve a share.  Why is it right that austerity has ended for the people of Newcastle County Down but not for the people of Newcastle Tyne and Wear? 

Although the Queens Speech eventually went ahead it was a shadow of the one expected.  The decision not to have a Queens Speech next year and a two year session looks like a desire to avoid parliamentary scrutiny.  And all this with a Prime Minister whose flawed judgement in calling an unnecessary election has put a question mark against her own position. 

The context could hardly be worse.  The formal Brexit process began with the Government having few cards to play and a long game in prospect. So the fishermen I met in Westminster this week to discuss fishing after the Common Fisheries Policy are right to be nervous that the Government’s position is already in retreat.  As the tempo of visits and summer events grows in my constituency people are talking about politics and the need for leadership.  It’s going to be long summer.

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