View from Westminster: Back from the Labour Party Conference with great policies

Katherine Johnston (02 October, 2019) Columnists

'Whatever your views on Brexit, the government should not have been able to avoid scrutiny on one of the most important issues of our day at a time of national crisis'

26745MP Helen Hayes.

Democracy works best when there is transparency in decision making, and clear checks and balances in place to hold our politicians to account for the decisions they take and the way they conduct themselves, writes Helen Hayes, MP for Dulwich and West Norwood…

Last week the Supreme Court reached a unanimous decision that Boris Johnson did not have the power to stop Parliament sitting, just because he felt it would be more convenient to achieve his political aims in relation to Brexit.

Whatever your views on Brexit, the government should not have been able to avoid scrutiny on one of the most important issues of our day at a time of national crisis, and I’m glad to be back again in the House of Commons to hold the government to account.

While the Supreme Court was sitting, I was in Brighton at Labour Party Conference where some really great policies were announced which speak directly to the urgent issues which matter to residents in my constituency.

Climate change is an existential threat to the future of our children and grandchildren.

I worked on climate change before entering Parliament and have been particularly inspired by the activism of young people in recent months.

It was a real privilege to hear from Swedish campaigner Greta Thunberg in Parliament before the summer break.

Labour is stepping up to the plate on climate change with the Green New Deal, an ambitious programme of policies including loans for those seeking to buy an electric car, a huge expansion in electric vehicle charging points, a programme of home insulation for households on lower incomes and a clear commitment to bringing forward the target timescale for achieving net zero emissions.

I was also pleased to see a bold commitment on social care, making personal care free at the point of need – a recommendation made by the cross-party committee of which I am a member, earlier this year which the Tories have chosen to ignore.

Amongst many other highlights, I am also delighted to see a commitment to introduce free nursery education for all two to four year olds, a measure which will make a huge difference to parents and children in my constituency.

I’m also really proud that Labour is vowing to completely overhaul the damaging Universal Credit regime and replace it with a system that doesn’t leave tens of thousand of families left hungry every year and in debt.

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