CAROLINE ANSELL MP: If anything you read troubles you, please write to me


Thursday, 16th January 2020, 11:54 am

I’d like to set out some context at the beginning of this new Parliament, about how votes are lined up and how the results are used, and abused!

The EU Withdrawal Bill of last week is a classic example. It is now in the House of Lords and will come back soon, for its final reading, before it becomes law.

This means we leave the EU on January 31 after three years or so of arguments, negotiations, a General Election, a hung Parliament, a General Election and quite a few political deadlocks along the way.

So, the government puts forward a bill and MPs can seek to change or add to it. Labour, the Scottish Nationalists and other opposition parties did just that to the Withdrawal Bill.

These amendments were about Syrian refugee children, workers’ rights and the right of students to study in Europe as part of the Erasmus scheme.

Now, opponents to Brexit will argue these measures were in the original Withdrawal Bill and that’s true. Theresa May made concessions to win opposition support but they wouldn’t even support it then! It was never about securing rights.

So, this time, Conservatives voted against the opposition parties’ amendments – in the sure and certain knowledge that these important issues will be covered by legislation to come.

Amendments about EU citizens were also defeated but that’s different as that issue remains within the Bill.

Bang! Internet articles and Facebook posts followed suggesting I was against workers’ rights, reuniting refugee children and studying in Europe - all of which is completely wrong!

Readers of this column may remember when I travelled to the refugee camps with Save The children.

I was a union member for all my teaching years and as a student, I spent a year in France.

It grieves me that political opponents weaponise issues like child refugees and stir anxiety over EU citizens rights.

We’re all entitled to our viewpoint of course but can we engage positively and find some common ground? That’s the challenge.

If any EU citizen in Eastbourne and Willingdon feels anxious about their status post-Brexit, then I want then to know that they can contact me and I will do everything I can to help.

And, to the wider Eastbourne and Willingdon world, social media can be a force for good and should bring us together, it doesn’t always.

If anything you read troubles you, please write to me.

In greener news, we’ve got the big ‘Eastbourne Carbon Neutral 2030’ launch this Saturday (January 18) which is a brilliant opportunity to advance hugely important work and something around which we can all rally!