The following is from an email sent by Jeremy Corbyn Saturday to party members.
" Dear ******
Labour campaigned in last year's referendum to remain in the European Union — and nearly two-thirds of Labour voters voted to remain.
As we all know, the result was a vote to leave.
We are not a party for the 48% or the 52%, but for everyone. We have an important role to play in bringing the country together and getting the best possible deal from Brexit.
Labour respects the will of the British people. But we do not respect the will of a Tory government that is threatening to relegate Britain to a bargain basement tax haven.
That's why we will vote to trigger Article 50 in the European Union Withdrawal Bill — but also will use every means at our disposal to make sure jobs, living standards, workers' rights and environmental protections are protected in the negotiations that follow.
So Labour has tabled a series of amendments to the Bill to ensure there is meaningful parliamentary scrutiny at every stage and a vote on the final deal.
We have also tabled an amendment to build in the broad principles we need to get the best outcome for our country — including tariff-free access to the single market and an anti-tax haven amendment to make sure the Prime Minister does not use Brexit as an excuse to duck out of tackling tax avoidance and evasion.
And we will support amendments to ensure the Tories don't yet again attack people's rights at work.
This is a difficult moment for our party. We campaigned to remain, but we have to accept the democratic result.
We will be reaching out to our friends and allies in the European socialist and progressive parties to help secure an agreement that strengthens cooperation and solidarity across Europe.
We must remember that what unites us is far stronger than what divides us: our commitment to defend our NHS, to campaign against the Tories' cuts to schools and social care — and our determination to build a country in which no one and no community is left behind.
We will vote for Article 50, but we will not be giving the Tories a blank cheque on their damaging agenda for Brexit — or any of their other failures.
Jeremy Corbyn MP
Leader of the Labour Party
The following is a Labour Party press release Thursday January 26, 2017.
Labour tables targeted amendments to Article 50 Bill
Today Labour has tabled a number of targeted amendments to the Article 50 Bill (the European Union [Notification of Withdrawal] Bill).
The amendments seek to improve the process, and would ensure Parliament is able to hold the Government to account throughout the Brexit negotiations.
Labour is also tabling an anti-tax haven amendment to ensure the Prime Minister doesn’t use Brexit to weaken Britain’s laws concerning tax avoidance and evasion.
Labour will also support two amendments drafted by Melanie Onn MP which would protect workers’ rights and ensure there is no drop in employment protection after the UK leaves the EU.
Labour’s amendments will:
i) Allow a meaningful vote in Parliament on the final Brexit deal. Labour’s amendment would ensure that the House of Commons has the first say on any proposed deal and that the consent of Parliament would be required before the deal is referred to the European Council and Parliament.
ii) Establish a number of key principles the Government must seek to negotiate during the process, including protecting workers’ rights, securing full tariff and impediment free access to the Single Market.
iii) Ensure there is robust and regular Parliamentary scrutiny by requiring the Secretary of State to report to the House at least every two months on the progress being made on negotiations throughout the Brexit process.
iv) Guarantee legal rights for EU nationals living in the UK. Labour has repeatedly called for the Government to take this step, and this amendment would ensure EU citizens’ rights are not part of the Brexit negotiations.
v) Require the Government to consult regularly with the governments in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland throughout Brexit negotiations. Labour’s amendment would put the Joint Ministerial Committee (JMC) on a statutory footing and require the UK Government to consult the JMC at least every two months.
vi) Require the Government to publish impact assessments conducted since the referendum of any new proposed trading relationship with the EU. This amendment seeks to ensure there is much greater clarity on the likely impact of the Government’s decision to exit the Single Market and seek new relationship with the Customs Union.
vii) Ensure the Government must seek to retain all existing EU tax avoidance and evasion measures post-Brexit
Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party, said:
“Labour will seek to amend the Article 50 Bill to prevent the Government using Brexit to turn Britain into a bargain basement tax haven off the coast of Europe. Our country can do much better than that.
“We respect the will of the British people, but not the will of this Tory government to impose fewer rights at work and worse public services, while the largest corporations pay even less tax.
“Labour will ensure that the British people, through Parliament, have genuine accountability and oversight over the Brexit negotiations because no one voted to give Prime Minister Theresa May a free hand over our future.”
Keir Starmer, Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, said:
“Now that Parliament has the right to trigger Article 50, we need to ensure there is proper grip and accountability built into the process.
“Labour’s amendments will also seek to ensure the Prime Minister secures the best deal for the whole country – including tariff and impediment free access to the Single Market and that there is no drop in workers’ rights.
“Labour’s amendments will significantly improve the Government’s Bill – in particular by ensuring the House of Commons has the first say on the final Brexit deal and that there are regular opportunities to hold the Government to account.
“Labour’s amendments will also seek to ensure the Prime Minister secures the best deal for the whole country – including tariff and impediment free access to the Single Market and that there is no drop in workers’ rights. We will also vigorously oppose any plans to reduce powers to tackle tax avoidance or evasion’.
“The Article 50 Bill will be the start, not the end of the Brexit process and Labour will hold the Government to account all the way”
Melanie Onn MP, who has tabled two amendments with Frontbench support on workers’ rights said:
“The Tories can’t be allowed to use Brexit as an excuse to water-down people’s rights at work.
“That’s why I am introducing amendments to protect in British law all workers’ rights which originate from the EU, including maternity pay, equal rights for agency and part-time workers, and the working time directive.
“The British people voted to leave the EU, but I don’t think anyone was voting for more insecure contracts or a less safe workplace.”
Rob Delaney was born on January 19, 1977 in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. He is an actor and writer, known for Catastrophe (2015), Life After Beth (2014) and Bra League (2012). The following is his open letter about NHS and why it beats US healthcare hands down.
"I am not the smartest person in the world, nor even close to the smartest person I know. Nor have I visited the vast majority of countries on this magnificent planet.
But I did happen to move from the US to the UK two and a half years ago at the age of 37, i.e. after almost four decades of inhabiting an incredibly hairy human body.
Thus I’ve had a good deal of experience as a patient, or as they call you in the US, a consumer of American healthcare before moving to the UK to experience the NHS for two-plus years as a father of three, a husband of a woman whose reproductive system is more glorious and has more complex needs than my own, and as a person whose own body is subject to the ravages of gravity, time, and secret Oreo milkshakes from Five Guys.
What I’m getting at is that I’m in a pretty good position to speak with some degree of clarity on the NHS as it compares to the American healthcare system.
And here’s the verdict: the NHS is superior . That isn’t to say it’s perfect; no healthcare system is or can be. People (myself included) have and will continue to complain about their healthcare, wherever they receive it, because medicine is treating your body, or your loved one’s body.
It is not performing the far less important and less fraught tasks of selling you a car or fixing your mobile’s broken screen or painting your house or making you a sandwich (though to be fair both the NHS or UCLA Santa Monica Hospital in Los Angeles will make you a reasonably good sandwich if you have to stay in hospital).
Medicine is treating your body! Your hearing, your intestines, your tits! Sometimes even your… nodes! The delicacy of this, and the emotions involved are going to leave you with a mixed bag of feelings, even if you achieve the optimal results of whatever it is you went in for.
I should also make clear that I’m comparing the US healthcare system with the NHS of today. The NHS constantly in the headlines for being cash-strapped and worse than it was in the past .
Is it? It sounds to me like it is, but I don’t personally know, and that’s not the purpose of this piece. The purpose of this piece is to tell you that the NHS of this exact moment in 2017 is better that the private healthcare systems in the US.
(I have to pluralize “systems” because there is, sadly, no one unified “system” in the US, much to the detriment of so many millions of Americans. I must also make clear that most Americans receive their healthcare privately, unlike the U.K.)
How is it better? I will say right away that just like in the UK, my loved ones and I have received generally very good medical care in the US. The American doctors and nurses are mostly kind people, working hard, sincerely interested in helping others.
Unfortunately these doctors and nurses are paid with money the hospital receives from health insurance companies. And health insurance companies are motivated by profit, not by successfully setting your broken shoulder or curing your daughter’s leukemia.
Those results aren’t discussed in their shareholders’ calls. And insurance companies don’t pay for all your care either.
My wife and I, who had what’s considered excellent insurance in the US, received bills for about $1,300 after each of our first two kids were born. When we were in the US on holiday recently, our youngest required an emergency ultrasound on his kidneys.
As we’ve been in the UK for years now, we don’t have American health insurance anymore and I had to pay a $500 deposit before they would do the test. On my baby’s kidneys. In the richest country in the world, in which I still pay plenty of taxes as a citizen.
The main point is this: if our bodies and minds are connected as modern medicine insists, the stress one feels as an American worrying about how you’ll pay for your healthcare – or whether you can even get it – shortens your life and reduces its quality much more than the wait for knee replacement surgery on the NHS does.
I used knee replacement surgery as an example because if you need emergency surgery on your brain or your heart, you won’t wait on the NHS; you’ll have world-class doctors doing their best to fix you right away.
Fifteen years ago, I had to max out two credit cards and borrow a third from mom to pay for surgery to put a pin in a broken wrist after a car accident. (My insurance company had dropped my coverage after the accident because I was generating too many bills for them.
That was 100 per cent legal before the Affordable Care Act, aka 'Obamacare', came into effect. The Obamacare which President-Elect Trump and the Republican Congress have pledged to repeal, mind you.
Now before you send me flowers because you agree so vehemently with what I’ve written, or alternately, to tell me via Twitter to make love to myself because an NHS doctor once sewed your arm back on upside down, nobody asked me to write this and I have nothing to gain from it.
I’m just a (nearly) forty-year-old comedian who does a graceful, elaborate jig every time my wife or kids or I visit a GP, an A and E, a birth centre, or an operating theatre and don’t have to worry if we’ll A) receive the care we need or B) be able to afford it, even if we have insurance.
Americans forego care and medicine that their physicians prescribe, because of cost. They also commit suicide because of medical debt. It’s hard to hold in one’s mind the idea that those things can and do happen in a country as wealthy as the United States.
I hesitate to end this piece with a call to action, though I know what I’d do if I were a UK citizen and something as remarkable as the NHS were under threat. I pay taxes here too, but I’m not British, so it’s up to you, if you care.
I wouldn’t wish sickness on anyone, but you might consider imagining yourself or your child moving or traveling to the US and getting sick or being in an accident.
Then imagine that already miserable experience magnified because you’re marinating in the fear that you won’t be able to pay for your care. Or maybe you can with a credit card, but then you can’t keep up with the payments so you begin to receive aggressive phone calls from the company the hospital sold your debt to. Maybe you get taken to court.
If that’s not something you’d like to experience, and you think the NHS of today is closer to that scenario than the NHS of ten years ago, or if you think that there are those in government or on the boards of private healthcare corporations who might be okay with that sort of future unfolding, what might you do about it? Anything?"
In the coming week Copeland Constituency Labour Party will select their choice of candidate to fight the up coming by election. The election was triggered by the resignation of Jamie Reed a little before Christmas 2016.
There are many local issues political parties will use to campaign for election victory in what was a BRexit area in the EU referendum.
But one big issue is Sellafield pensions. The following is a Labour Party press release Friday:
Unelected PM Theresa May and her Tory government is trying to downgrade the final-salary pension scheme at Sellafield.
In December trade unions representing many of Sellafield’s 10,000 workers wrote to the government warning they cannot support either of the options being considered meaning that industrial action could be on the cards.
The biggest political threat to a Labour Party candidate could come from UKip but surely only on the issue of BRexit?
With local hospital services under threat and UKip leader Paul Nuttall already on record favouring privatisation of our health service how can they win?
Three women have been selected for the Labour Party short list of candidates in Copeland. Next week one will be selected to represent the constituency as Labour Party candidate.
The by-election was triggered by the resignation of Labour Party MP and local man Jamie Reed.
Mr Reed joined politics from the Sellafield nuclear industry and is returning to his roots but with a lucrative new job.
He quit Sellafield initially and then quit politics claiming both times he could serve the community better by the move. Was that true or were both moves more self-motivated?
With planned boundary changes looming some MPs may find their constituency vanish or merge with another. This could lead to other resignations ahead of the game.
Friday it was Tristram Hunt quitting for a very lucrative job at the Victoria and Albert Museum London.
Copeland and Mr Hunt's Stoke constituency will both be big challenges for the Labour Party. Both are BRexit areas of the country. This will probably mean that local voters will not favour the Lib Dems but could opt for UKip.
However the current NHS crisis and local issues will be best challenged by a Labour Party representative
The Labour Party short list for Copeland is;
The Open Rights Group has had a productive year. The following is the group's New Year newsletter;
"This update and previous versions are now available from our website
2016 has been a year to remember or possibly one to forget! Political upheaval and celebrity deaths aside, what did 2016 mean for digital rights?
It was the year when....
Theresa May got her snoopers' charter While politicians, the media and public were distracted by Brexit, the UK parliament passed the most extreme surveillance law in a democracy – the Investigatory Powers Act (IPA). ORG fought hard to limit its severe measures but only the Lib Dems, Greens and SNP suggested serious amendments, which the Tories and Labour rejected.
But the Courts say it needs to be rewritten
In 2014, ORG intervened in a case about data retention brought by the MPs Tom Watson and David Davis. ORG argued that blanket data retention contravened the protections set out in a previous Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) judgment. These arguments – including the unlawfulness of blanket retention – won the day and were accepted by the court. Last week, the CJEU stated, among other things, that blanket data retention is not permissible. This means that the Government is going to have to change the IPA or face another legal challenge. The fightback begins!
The Government decided it wanted to block porn
The Digital Economy Bill, which is currently going through parliament, will compel porn sites to verify that their users are over 18. The proposals, which don’t include privacy protections, are largely unworkable because foreign porn sites could refuse to comply. Undeterred, the Government has now proposed to force ISPs to block sites that don’t apply age verification – potentially blocking thousands of legal websites in the UK. And just last week, they confirmed that Twitter accounts that link to blocked websites could also be blocked.
ORG is working to get the Government to amend the Digital Economy Bill so that privacy rights are protected. Over 18,000 people have already signed our petition against web blocking and this is going to be one of our big fights in 2017.
Admiral's app was sunk Admiral Insurance thought it would be a good idea to offer first time drivers discounts in return for analysing their Facebook feeds. ORG raised awareness in the media and Facebook clarified that this was a breach of their Platform policy and blocked Admiral's app.
There are real risks in allowing the financial or insurance industry to base financial decisions on our social media activity. ORG will continue to raise awareness when companies try to do this.
Prison sentences were proposed for file sharers
Earlier in the year, almost 1,000 ORG supporters wrote to the Intellectual Property Office to say no to proposals that could see people who commit online copyright infringement getting ten-year prison sentences. Despite this opposition, the proposals still appeared in the Digital Economy Bill. However, we’re working with Labour to amend the wording of the law so that such sentences will only be given to those guilty of serious copyright infringement.
Net Neutrality was protected
This summer, ORG supporters along with Internet users from across Europe secured some the the strongest net neutrality protections in the world. BEREC, the Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications, set strong guidelines on how European net neutrality rules should be enforced by national telecoms regulators like Ofcom in the UK. We'll be keeping an eye out for potential net neutrality violations in the UK over 2017 and beyond.
The UK voted to leave Europe
After the UK voted to leave the European Union, we warned that there would be major consequences for digital rights as many European laws apply. We still don't know what shape Brexit will take but this should become clearer in 2017 and will be something that massively affects our work.
Data protection should get better
The European Union passed the General Data Proection Regulation (GDPR) in April this year. ORG, EDRi and other digital rights groups had argued for stronger data protection laws for the last five years. Along with the European Parliament, we worked to stop industry efforts to water the proposals down. When it enters force in 2018, it will give people new rights, including the right to get an electronic copy of your data, to delete your data, and to object to automatic decisions that affect your rights. Companies will also face bigger fines if they breach the law. Despite Brexit, the UK Government has confirmed that it will enact the proposals in the GDPR – largely because it would otherwise damage UK business interests.
The European Commission proposed filtering the Internet
The European Commission published its draft Copyright Directive, which included plans to force Internet companies to ‘filter’ everything we upload in case it infringes copyright laws. This would have a massive impact on how we all use the Internet as photos, songs, images, and even memes, could be checked and censored as copyright violations. Over 3,000 ORG supporters wrote to the IPO about these plans and we will continue to challenge them in 2017.
We were all Trumped
“If there were a crisis in the relationship between the UK and the US, what risks would our shared intelligence arrangements pose?” We asked this question in our 2015 report about the Snowden leaks. We might be about to find out the answer. The Snowden documents show that Britain’s GCHQ and America’s NSA work very closely together. They are integrated in a way that means it is difficult for our Parliament to hold GCHQ to account.
We rely so much on US technology and data that it poses questions for our sovereignty. Is sharing of UK citizens’ 'bulk data' with a Trump government safe? Will Trump threaten the UK with the removal of key technologies, if our government steps out of line? Will he push the UK into taking ever greater risks and intrusions as the price for this close relationship?
Oversight of this state of dependency between the UK and USA is woeful in the UK. If we want our future to be safe, this is time to rethink how surveillance is governed and overseen.
Thank you from ORG
A special thanks to our local group organisers in Aberdeen, Bristol, Birmingham, Cambridge, Cardiff, Leeds, London, Manchester and the North East who have put on some excellent events this year. Thank you to everyone who signed a petition, emailed their MP, tweeted about us, came to an event or followed us on social media.
Please do consider joining ORG and helping us to fight for your rights in 2017.
Happy New Year from everyone at ORG!
Open Rights Group"
Response to Gerard Coyne from Len McCluskey January 2, 2017
Len McCluskey, responding to the latest attacks from Gerard Coyne, said today:
Unite’s democracy would not be safe in Gerard Coyne’s hands. His latest outburst is not an attack on myself as much as on our lay leadership and rank-and-file activists.
He claims that I decided that Unite should support Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader in 2015 and 2016.
Yet the truth, as he is well aware, is that in 2015 this was a decision of our elected lay Executive Council, and in 2016 of our 600-strong Policy Conference, by a vast majority.
To claim otherwise is to disrespect our membership and our democracy, while asserting that our union is a political “puppet master” panders to the worst anti-Labour stereotypes of the media.
These unscrupulous remarks show that Gerard Coyne’s campaign is not being driven by concern for Unite and its members’ interests. It is being scripted by the failed plotters in the Parliamentary Labour Party, for whom Unite would be collateral damage in their political project to bring back Blairism.
Unite is electing a General Secretary, not a politicians’ puppet.
I urge Gerard Coyne to raise the tone of his campaign, and focus on the workplace issues which Unite members care about.
- See more at: http://www.unite4len.co.uk/response-gerard-coyne/#sthash.dEADrs5Q.vXyS6GfM.dpuf
Gerard Coyne in THE SUN https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2515678/would-be-unite-boss-gerard-coyne-insists-workers-want-end-to-free-movement-as-he-challenges-red-len-mccluskey-for-leadership/
Jennie Formby: Labour's new general secretary