Last week, it was back to Strasbourg last week for the big debate on the resolution on the state of play of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
Debate was led by Juncker and Barnier, with Guy Verhofstadt taking a leading role as the Chair of the Brexit Steering Group. That said, this was a tough vote for me, because the resolution outlines how the EU would like to move ahead with the Withdrawal Bill, something that I am at pains to resist. However, I still voted to support the bill, because of clause 25, the most important and encouraging part of the resolution, which commits the European Parliament to agree to any request for an extension to Article 50 for the purpose of a People’s Vote, to revoke Article 50, or for a general election.
During the debate I spoke about why this extension could be so important. You can watch my speech here. The three years between 2016 and today may mean little to people in their middle years but, since 2016, 1.4 million young people have come of age and, as a matter of principal, I believe that we must allow the young voices of 2019 to be heard in a vote. The fact that 74% of these youngsters are expected to support us remaining as part of the EU, makes the way that we are plunging towards a no deal Brexit more fundamentally unfair than ever, and also possibly explains why those who support Leaving the EU are so reluctant to support a People’s Vote.
Later in the week, I had the privilege to speak in the plenary debate on the Fight Against Cancer alongside a number of colleagues from Renew Europe. Plenary debates seek to clarify the points of focus for the incoming EU President and the focus of my speech was on resourcing research in bioinformatics, biomedicine and AI so that our fight against cancer has the best chance of success.
Those who are eagle eyed among you may have noticed that on Friday I was interviewed by the James Whale on by Talk Radio, a somewhat digressive interview where he asked about Johnson, Bollocks and, errr, dogs … rather than more serious points like of the lack of any specific proposals from the British Government to solve the Irish border conundrum. Hey, ho. At least, I managed to sneak in the fact that Farage did not win a 5th Brexit MEP in the South East of England, his own back yard. I would also like to reiterate that I really do like dogs.
The weekend saw action with Berkshire for Europe in Newbury in the form of a cross party march from Wash Common through town to Victoria Park. It was a show of unity with speakers from many backgrounds, time to coincide with the 376th anniversary of the first Battle of Newbury! I was happy to be there, with my Stop Brexit T-shirt, loud and proud.
I went on to join the Wokingham team after a brilliant day of action. If, when, there is a general election, we really do have a chance to finally unseat John Redwood. If you want to help out locally then please give them a call!