Burnley MP Julie Cooper column: World is looking on with disbelief

Burnley MP Julie Cooper
Burnley MP Julie Cooper

There is something very strange going on at the moment; something very ‘unbritish’.

The world looks on with absolute disbelief.

Whatever your political views, it really is quite astonishing for the British Prime Minister, to shut down Parliament and then to be forced by the highest court in the land to recall that very same Parliament because he acted unlawfully.

It used to be the case that the British Prime Minister’s word was his bond but now he can’t be trusted.

Former Prime Ministers and distinguished MPs from all parties are queuing up to rightly condemn his actions. Former Conservative Prime Minister John Major even gave evidence to the Supreme Court against this Conservative Government.

Boris Johnson has sacked 21 of his own MPs, including Sir Nicholas Soames, Winston Churchill’s grandson. He now finds himself with no majority at a time of national crisis.

Surely, the wise thing for him to do would be to build some bridges, in the national interest so that we can resolve this Brexit mess, once and for all.

Instead he wants to use up more precious weeks, holding a General Election.

This is the height of irresponsibility with the Brexit deadline looming close. Brexit negotiations have already been delayed by the Theresa May’s General Election of 2017 and further by the Tory Leadership contest.

Of course a General Election will come soon, and I will personally welcome it, but it is not in the national interest, to commence the process right now.

Boris Johnson though, seems to think that it is all a big game. We’ve all got used to him playing the comedian but his behaviour this week has been absolutely disgraceful and a source of national embarrassment.

He promised his own members that he would heal the divisions in our country but he keeps making the situation worse.

For him to speak so flippantly and provocatively about the vicious murder of the Labour MP, Jo Cox was outrageous and does him no credit. Jo was my colleague and my friend, and I feel only disgust for our Prime Minister. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. It is not matter of political opinion, it is a matter of human decency. Even his own brother and sister have condemned his behaviour.

I divided my time last week between Burnley, Brighton and Westminster.

There were some very good policy announcements at the Conference in Brighton, many of which will form the basis for our manifesto at the forthcoming election.

Brexit has taken so much of everyone’s time and energies and there are so many other very important issues that affect the lives of us all.

The announcements in every sector were underpinned by a commitment to create a green economy with decent jobs and opportunities for all. When I say decent jobs I mean jobs with decent pay and conditions, an end to low pay with a £10 minimum wage and getting rid of the insecurity of zero hour contracts.

A commitment to skills and training and properly funded schools, revitalised Sure Start Centres and free Nursery education for all two and three-year-olds were all highlights.

Giving children and young people the best start in life is the best way to build the foundations for the strong economy that we all want to see. I was also really pleased to hear the Shadow Chancellor making provision for NHS investment and the establishment of a national care system beginning with free social care for all senior citizens. Not of course forgetting my policy of abolishing the NHS Prescription Charge to make free prescriptions for all.

There were of course many more announcements that I will discuss with you in due course.

Conference is always a good opportunity for me to meet with the health professionals and their organisations.

This year I met with many groups including representatives from the Royal College of General Practitioners, the Pharmacy profession, mental health specialists, and occupational therapists. I also met with groups that represent the needs of patients with specific conditions including cancer, asthma and Alzheimer’s.

I took part in several seminars including one on children’s mental health and one relating to the recent troubles in Kashmir. It was a very busy and useful few days.

On Wednesday I returned to Parliament and then finally at the end of a long week back to Burnley to hold my regular advice surgery and spend some time with my family.

My next MP’s surgery are on October 12th in the cafe at Padiham Tesco.

No appointments are necessary as people will be seen on a first come first served basis.

Alternatively you can email me on julie.cooper.mp@parliament.uk or phone my constituency office on 01282 425744.

The constituency office opens Monday - Friday from 10am - 4pm (half day Tuesday) where my staff will do their best to assist you and keep me informed of the issues you raise.