Burnley MP Julie Cooper column: I will not oppose Brexit, but I will oppose a no deal scenario

(Left to right) Burnley councillors Afrasiab Anwar and Bea Foster with Julie Cooper at a Near Neighbours event in Westminster
(Left to right) Burnley councillors Afrasiab Anwar and Bea Foster with Julie Cooper at a Near Neighbours event in Westminster
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During the last week I have spent many hours in the voting lobbies of Westminster voting on guess what? Yes you got it -  Brexit of course.

I really am doing my best to help sort this mess. For two years the Prime Minister has dithered and delayed and as a result much of the exit legislation is nowhere near completed and in fact some of the work in key areas has not even been started.

This has nothing to do with political differences, it is quite frankly sheer incompetence on the part of Theresa May and I don’t see why the people of Burnley and Padiham should have to suffer because of her mistakes.

I am absolutely certain that if we run out of time and leave with no deal agreed, it will be catastrophic, not for the EU but for us and for that reason, I will not oppose Brexit, but I will oppose a no deal scenario, because to do otherwise would be extremely irresponsible.

I will do what I have always said I would i.e. work to achieve a sensible exit deal and every voting decision that I make has this aim at its heart.

Meanwhile life goes on and on Tuesday, I was pleased to make the case for improved palliative care for children with life threatening and life limiting illnesses.

As a parent and grandparent myself I can think of few things in life worse than for a parent to hear that their child is so seriously ill that they cannot expect to live a full life, or to live with the knowledge that their child will never grow into adulthood, and will die before them.

That must be absolutely devastating and is against the natural order of things. In my view the very least we can do as a society is to ensure that in such circumstances parents and children get all the care and support that they need.

Sadly at the moment this is often not the case and access to hospice care and community based services is very much a postcode lottery.

Children’s hospices are few and far between and all without exception face considerable financial challenges and the fear of closure is never far away.

The Government has promised to provide additional funding but this has so far not materialised and the reality is that the proportion of funding from Government has actually gone down.

This like so many decisions made by the Conservative Government is extremely shortsighted not only do their policies cause misery they actually end up costing the tax payer more.

The fact is that Government currently pays only 9% of the total hospice costs but if these hospices are forced to close, the NHS will have to pay the full cost of all health and social care needs of very sick children and young people. This makes no sense at all.

On Wednesday I was pleased to meet with County Coun. Azhar Ali, the County Council’s opposition leader. I am extremely worried about the Lancashire County Council’s proposed cuts to services.

Coun. Ali and I are united in our opposition to these proposals which are predominantly targeted at the most vulnerable people in the community. There is a long list of shocking proposals that include devastating cuts to child safeguarding provision, social care for the elderly and disabled.

These important services will all be badly hit if the Conservative controlled County Council gets its way. I have have spoken with Burnley and Padiham’s Labour representatives on the county council and I sincerely hope that all our county councillors irrespective of political allegiances will join us in objecting to these cruel cuts.

Mid-week I was pleased to meet up with Burnley Borough Councillors, Bea Foster and Afrasiab Anwar at an event in Westminster to celebrate the work of Near Neighbours.

Near Neighbours is an organisation which brings together people in diverse communities, to create relationships of trust and to help people transform their neighbourhoods. They have led some very successful projects in Burnley and Pendle recently and are definitely a force for good.

My next MP’s surgery will be on Saturday between 10am and noon at my Constituency Office at 8 Keirby Walk Burnley alternatively you can call my office on 01282 425744 or email julie.cooper.mp@parliament.uk