Last night I wrote to my Labour opponent outlining a number of questions regarding his Brexit stance. There is no doubt that the need to get Brexit done is one of the biggest challenges facing the country and I think its only right and proper that each candidate standing for Parliament outlines clearly their own position.
Since the start of the General Election campaign, I and the Ipswich Conservatives have knocked on over 10,000 doors and we’ve been able to talk to over 3,000 people from across the town. We have a huge amount of door knocking still to do, but I’d like to think we have a fairly good idea of what people are thinking on some of the key issues.
Earlier this month I attended the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester. Despite all the difficulties in Parliament there was a lot of positivity at the Conference and hope for the future. The overriding theme of the Conference was “Get Brexit Done”. The vast majority of people I’ve spoken to on the doorstep over the past month or so, whether they voted Leave or Remain in the referendum simply want us to get on with leaving the EU so that we can move forward as a country and start fully focusing on over important domestic issues.
However, the Conference was about far more than just sorting out Brexit. One area where I have been quite active over the past few months has been crime. At the Party Conference I met with the new Crime Minister Kit Malthouse MP to discuss the Government’s approach to tackling knife crime and County lines.
Since Boris became Prime Minister I’ve been very pleased with the Government’s announcements on crime and anti-social behaviour. The commitment to 20,000 extra police officers and tougher sentencing is to be welcomed. At Conference both the Prime Minister and Home Secretary Priti Patel made clear how much of a priority tackling County lines is for the Government. In fact County lines was mentioned specifically in the Prime Minister’s main speech. I’m very encouraged that this is such a priority for the Government.
Since my selection as the Conservative Parliamentary candidate for Ipswich I’ve visited most of the schools across the Town to meet with the respective leadership teams and its been made clear to me how much of an issue County lines is. I know this is an issue keeping many parents awake at night and its one we should be robust in stamping out this evil as a matter of the upmost priority. It’s sickening to think that many of our young people are being exploited and abused by an appalling set of criminals who deserve to be behind bars. It’s clear to me that both the police and the National Crime Agency need all the funding they need in order to ruthlessly track down these individuals and gang members and prevent them from spreading their evil across the country and poisoning the lives of many of our young people.
At Conference the Home Secretary committed a new £20 million fund aimed specifically at tackling County lines. This money will be used to fund a dedicated police unit that will operate at train stations to disrupt the movement of drugs and people involved in County lines. It will also fund the expansion of the National County Lines Coordination Centre to increase intelligence sharing and targeting.
In addition to the clear focus on County lines I was also pleased to see the new Justice Secretary providing some more detail regarding the move towards tougher sentencing for those who are found guilty of serious wrong doing. In particularly I was pleased to see the Government making clear that the practice whereby prisoners are let out automatically half way through serving a sentence will end. This is something I’ve been campaigning for since the start of the year and this change is very welcome.
All the time though, however good the national announcement is, my clear focus is on ensuring that Ipswich stands to benefit as much as possible from any new spending announcement or initiative. Before Boris formally became Prime Minister, he visited Claydon and I made crystal clear to him at the time that Suffolk needs a fair share of the 20,000 extra Police officers that he’s committed to delivering. When I spoke to the Policing Minister at Party Conference I explained to him the problems Ipswich has had with County lines and of the meetings I’ve had with parents and teachers across the Town.
My belief is that the current Government’s position on crime is close to where the majority of the public are. The vast majority of voters I talk to on the door step support tougher sentencing, more investment into our police and a robust approach to tackling County lines. This is a complex area and there is much to do but I’m very encouraged by the start the current Government have made.
“Very disappointed that last night 328 MPs decided to vote against the Prime Minister and destroy our country’s negotiating position with the EU. There is nothing at all that will be achieved by further dithering and delay.
“It’s vital we leave the EU on 31st October come what may and I believe that taking no deal of the table is complete folly. The Labour Party have abandoned the 5 million Labour voters who voted leave in 2016 and the Labour MP for Ipswich has abandoned the 38,000 people who voted leave in the Borough of Ipswich by repeatably voting against Brexit and not honoring the referendum result.
“Collectively I believe that this Parliament has failed the people of this country particularly the 17.4 million people who voted to leave the EU over three years ago. In the circumstances, reluctantly, I now believe that a General Election is needed. I fully support Boris and stand ready to throw everything I can into the campaign to ensure better representation for our Town in Parliament.”
Clearly the situation in Parliament at the moment is incredibly frustrating. There was a clear vote to leave the EU in the referendum and a clear deadline to leave the EU by the end of this month. The prospect of the Brexit deadline being extended fills me with dread.
Like 58% of people in Ipswich who voted in the referendum I voted to leave the EU. However, for me this is about our democracy. It concerns me greatly that so many MPs seem prepared to turn their backs on the referendum result. It also concerns me that there are so many examples of MPs who are meant to be in Parliament to represent the views of their constituents not representing their views when it comes to Brexit.
I absolutely would have voted to keep no deal on the table. Both because I think its important to have it on the table from a negotiating point of view but also because I think that despite some disruption in the short term, our country would make a success of no deal Brexit. We’re a great country and I believe that we’d rise to the challenge.
Yesterday the Labour MP for Ipswich made clear his view on the issue. He said that there should be a second referendum where there should be two options: 1. Remain 2. Brexit which includes full membership of the Single Market and Customs Union. So the choice would be between Remain and a form of Brexit that is so soft its effectively Remain. Being a full member of both the Single Market and Customs Union would mean that we would be unable to control immigration from EU countries and that we would be unable to have our own trade policy and strike free trade agreements with some of the fastest growing countries in the world.
Essentially the Labour MP for Ipswich doesn’t even think the people of Ipswich should get the opportunity to vote for Brexit again in a meaningful sense.
My strong view is that Ipswich needs an MP who will respect the democratic vote that took place to leave the EU both in Ipswich and nationally. This is not currently the case.
By backing a second referendum on our membership of the EU, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has made it crystal clear that the Labour Party do not respect the vote that has already taken place. Today, Jeremy Corbyn has turned his back on Labour voters who voted leave!
Have the Ipswich Labour Party forgotten that just over two years ago almost 40,000 people in the Borough of Ipswich voted to leave the EU? Over 58% of those who voted in Ipswich voted to leave. Is that not a clear enough verdict from the people of Ipswich?