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We now have an historic opportunity to change course

Catherine West

Our society does not have to be like this, we do have a choice, we do have a chance to change it.

The snap General Election has given us the opportunity to reshape our society, into one with tolerance, social justice and fairness at its core.

This election that affords us an historic opportunity to change course, to negotiate positively with Europe, properly fund public services and put human rights at the centre of our foreign policy.

We compare the vision set out by Labour to that set out by the Tories, where trade deals are prioritised with dictators over human rights, where vital services have been financially stripped to the bone, and the far right of the Conservative party are dragging the entire country into an extreme vision of Brexit ‘at all costs’.

The Conservative’s hard Brexit comes despite 48 per cent of people voting to Remain in the EU and many MPs, including myself, voting not to trigger Article 50.

But a Labour government will work with our European neighbours to make sure that Brexit is conducted in the interest of workers’ rights, security co-operation and environmental protections.

Only Labour can challenge this version of Brexit. Only Labour can challenge the Tories on a national scale.

And while Prime Minister Theresa May says she has called this election because of the EU, she is in reality asking for a blank cheque. A blank cheque to introduce grammar schools and push existing schools across the country, and into Haringey, to financial collapse; a blank cheque to continue ignoring pleas of funding from the NHS, where profits are put before patients; a bank cheque to continue with hardening austerity, forcing ever more people into poverty.

Our party is clear: the Conservatives, and the Liberal-Democrat-Conservative coalition before them, have let people down. The bedroom tax continues to plague the most needy in our society, students are saddled with huge student fees and debt (despite the Lib Dems stating explicitly they would not allow it), and social mobility is in a downward spiral..

The economic narrative that says you need mammoth cuts to public expenditure in order to pay for economic crisis that happened nearly a decade ago is running out of steam.

The country has had enough. It is time for a change. Labour will campaign as a government that will invest in skills to make our economy fit for the 21st century, invest in infrastructure, fund our schools and NHS so that everyone is given an opportunity to succeed.

Labour stands for a society that challenges hate crime and racism, that will provide shelter for refugees. We stand up for a tolerant, open and fair society.

This is a Labour party that will act in the interest of the majority. A Labour party that will give the country 4 more bank holidays per year so it is on par with other nations, that will implement a £10 minimum wage so that people can get by, that will give all children free school meals, that says big businesses must pay their bills on time and that demands transparency over business owners.

This election gives the opportunity to vote for a government that puts the interests of the majority first. It affords the chance to build a more fair society.

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Catherine West
About Catherine West (14 Articles)
Labour Member of Parliament for Hornsey & Wood Green | Shadow Foreign Minister | Mum of two |