I was pleased to support the Government speaking in the No Confidence debate that was called by the Leader of the Opposition. You can view my speech here: https://goo.gl/i8yjud and read it below:
I rise to speak on the behalf of not just Brenda from Bristol, but all the Brendas in Bexhill and Battle, who are probably thinking right now, “The last thing we want is a general election, but we want our Parliament and all our MPs to work better together to fix the issues of our day.” I have enjoyed this afternoon because I have had the opportunity to listen to many feelings, hopes and aspirations, but it depresses me that people would still rather shout at each other instead of reaching out, identifying issues that are common to us all and trying to fix them.
I am proud of the things that the Government have helped me deliver in my constituency since my election in 2015. All my secondary schools are now good or outstanding. Last Friday, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care spent time seeing how our health service is joined up with our social care team, and it made me proud to see amazing leaders working as one, which is a good example for Parliament.
Of course, I am not naive, and I recognise that the Opposition must oppose and that the Government must govern. I am also not so naive as to say that there are no big challenges in my constituency. For example, I will be setting up a taskforce on homelessness because I have noticed the streets in Bexhill getting worse. I have also noticed more casework from my constituents because services are not available at the levels they once were.
Many of the points made by Opposition Members are therefore correct. Equally, however, we now have more people in employment than ever before. Things cannot be as bad as Opposition Members say, but perhaps they are not as good as Government Members sometimes say. If we all took that attitude and worked out how to fix the things that really matter to people, we might also be able to fix the issues of Brexit.
I want to touch on something that I thought would have been fixed by now when I was elected in 2015—social care reform. It is within us in this House to fix things for the most vulnerable and elderly people in our communities. We agree on so much. The Opposition talk about a wealth tax, and the Conservative manifesto talked about people paying more. We are almost there, and yet our occasional hatred for each other stops us reaching out.
When it comes to reaching out, there is one thing that I would like my Government to do to show that they really are listening, and it relates to the £65 charge for EU citizens to maintain the same rights that they enjoyed before the referendum. That does not feel fair to me, and I speak to many Members on both sides of the Chamber who feel the same. If the Government are listening, they should reach out to every Member who agrees with me, be they leaver or remainer, and offer that olive branch. If we start doing things that way, perhaps people will appreciate that the Government are listening and perhaps then we will work better together in the manner that all our constituents expect.