Gazette column - 12/9/19

Politics is about incomes, jobs, health, education, transport, crime, care, housing, businesses, bins, hope, opportunities, life, dreams, safety and 1,001 other things so it isn't all Brexit.


Yet I've witnessed Tory leader Boris Johnson make the worst debut of any Prime Minister in our country's history by losing control of events, votes in Parliament, a Tory majority, much of his Cabinet and Britain's place in Europe when the law requires him to delay leaving until January 31st unless he achieves a deal.


Threatening to break the law exposed the untrustworthy nature of Johnson when the rest of us must follow it or end up in court with a fine or even prison.


Why should we trust Boris Johnson when his brother Jo doesn't, quitting as a Minister who went to Cabinet and announcing he'll stand down as a Tory MP?


The truth is we can't, shouldn't and don't trust a Prime Minister who has just suspended Parliament for five weeks.


Making Theresa May's chaotic reign look strong and stable is quite a feat for this incompetent Conservative leader and in the General Election I'm looking forward to we'll hold him to account and seize the opportunity to put Labour's exciting case to improve life for the people of Tyneside and Britain.


You deserve better than the thin gruel served by Conservatives who inflicted so much misery over the last nine years and are in for a shock if they think we should be grateful for sticking plasters on gaping wounds.


What hypocrisy for a lawlessness and disorder Tory Party to hope everybody forgets the 20,000 more police they promised is fewer than the 21,000 they axed.


Or the 2.7% for local authorities is tiny compared with the 50%-plus stolen from South Tyneside and Gateshead Councils in recent years.


Or £200m for buses is less than a third of the £645m cut.


Or £1.8bn next year for schools is less than half the £3.8bn the respected Institute for Fiscal Studies previously estimated that it would cost to reverse earlier Tory cuts.


Or look and shudder at the failure to fix Universal Credit, the Conservatives continuing to condemn families in and out of work up here to cruel, callous hardship.


Johnson pretending Tory austerity's over and sounding, this side of an election anyway, that he isn't obsessed with the national debt only confirms to me that Tory austerity was always a Tory choice and never a financial necessity.


Let's not let these wriggling Tories squirm out of a terrible record of failure which is blamed for 120,000 excess deaths, £100 billion taken out of the economy and the worst squeeze on wages since Wellington beat Napoleon in the Battle of Waterloo.


Under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership a Labour Government would revive Britain in a fairer, prosperous 21st century instead of taking if back to the 19th like the Tories.


Labour policies such as a £10 an hour minimum wage would make work pay in a decent country. This is what politics and a General Election will be about.


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Meet your MP


Stephen Hepburn has served the Jarrow Constituency as MP since 1997.

He was last elected to serve in June 2017 and won the seat with a conclusive 17,263 majority.

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