Recent Activity

new_logo_for_julie.png

We have stopped the Conservatives in their tracks, denying them another 5 years as a majority government. I am exceptionally proud of Jeremy Corbyn and the campaign he, the shadow cabinet and thousands of members and supporters across the UK ran for this snap General Election. It was particularly wonderful to see the creative community get behind the campaign with posters, songs, poems, comedy and endorsements from a whole host of artists such as Billy Bragg, Lily Allen, Maxine Peake, Julie Hesmondhalgh.
We increased our vote share not just because of the positive and ambitious future we laid out in our manifesto, but because thousands of our members and supporters came out to campaign for local candidates. From Warrington and Withington to Worsley and Wirral, from Bury to Blackpool and Manchester to Morecambe,  from Chester and Crewe to Carlisle and Copeland,  I was pleased to support our candidates - many of whom have now been duly elected, including excellent women candidates such as Laura Smith, Yasmin Qureshi, Liz McInnes, Margaret Greenwood, Cat Smith, Rosie Duffield, Emma Dent Coad and many more.
 
 Collage_one.jpg

With analysis showing more than 50% of people under the age of 39 voting for Labour
, and a significant increase in youth turnout, this was a fantastic result for Labour. We showed young people that their vote does matter, that they can shape the course of history and, through our manifesto, we gave them hope and aspirations for their futures.

This General Election was a chance for people to choose between a hard Tory Brexit that threatens workers’ rights and living standards and Labour‘s desire for a new collaborative partnership with the EU that promises to protect our hard-won rights and ensure our living standards are not adversely affected by being outside the union.

The Tories misread the public mood, foolishly suggesting that they knew best. The reality is that they know very little about life for ordinary hard-working people, or the daily struggles of the elderly and people with disabilities, or the despair of the homeless, including many veterans. Voters hated Theresa May‘s arrogant autocratic attitude and people came back to Labour in their droves, whilst many lifelong Tories and LibDems also voted for us.
The people have indeed spoken. Now more than ever we need to be on top of Theresa May and her band of Brexiteers and ready to challenge whoever takes her place when she is toppled from power. We need to make it clear that as a minority government, the Conservatives do not have the support necessary to govern our country or chase their hard Brexit at any price. And as we mark the first anniversary of the terrible murder of Jo Cox it is particularly incumbent on us to fight the xenophobia, racism and hatred that was exposed during the referendum campaign and to stand up for Labour values of social justice, equality and peace.

 Collage_two.jpg

The Conservatives are on the verge of civil war
, recovering from a manifesto dubbed the ‘worst‘ ever by their own Tory MPs, and facing a coalition of chaos with the far-right DUP. A united Labour Party under Jeremy’s leadership has shown we can offer this country a better future and we really can make a difference by doing politics differently.

Congratulations to all those new Labour MPs who were elected on June 8th, especially my Eurolabour colleagues Afzal Khan (now MP for Manchester Gorton) and Anneliese Dodds (the new MP for Oxford East). Whilst they will be greatly missed we look forward to welcoming excellent replacements, especially Wajid Khan from Burnley who will hopefully be joining Theresa Griffin and myself to represent the north west of England in the European Parliament. Many thanks and congratulations to those comrades who stood for re-election as well as new candidates, many gaining spectacular majorities. Commiserations to those candidates who just missed out such as Vikki Singleton in Morecambe, Ruth Alcroft in Carlisle, Liz Savage in Southport, Wayne Blackburn in Pendle, Julie Hilling in Bolton, Gill Troughton in Copeland and Chris Webb in Blackpool North & Cleveleys.  I look forward to being out on the campaign trail again, be it next month, later this year or whenever this coalition of hard-right chaos inevitably falls apart.

Meanwhile, in the European Parliament I have been working hard in my committees and in my delegations, maintaining my record as one of the top three performing British MEPs. For your information I will be preparing a mid-term report for members and constituents during the summer months with the help of my staff team who will all be together in Manchester in mid-July. If you wish to meet them or myself please get in touch for details of availability.

 Collage_three.jpg

Finally, I would like to inform you of an initiative I have taken in collaboration with New Europeans regarding the submission of a Priority Written Question to the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk,  asking that the citizenship rights of British nationals residing in the EU 27 be unilaterally guaranteed regardless of the position taken by the UK government. This is intended to stop the two sides using people as bargaining chips in the Brexit negotiations. As well as this, I have also co-signed a letter alongside many of my Labour Party colleagues both in Europe and in Westminster, calling for a rejection of 'Hard-Brexit' and to defend the single market.

Thanks to all those who came together across diverse communities over the weekend to share our common humanity, standing strong against hatred and division in memory of Jo Cox. We will not be divided but go forwards stronger and more united.

In solidarity
Julie Ward, MEP

Click here to learn more about my role in the European Parliament and the work I do for you in the North West.
You can also follow my daily work through TwitterFacebook and Instagram

A proud day for the Labour Party

We have stopped the Conservatives in their tracks, denying them another 5 years as a majority government. I am exceptionally proud of Jeremy Corbyn and the campaign he, the shadow...

The deadly and senseless attack on young people and their families at the MEN Arena in Manchester late on Monday night, May 22nd, at the end of Ariana Grande's concert is a terrible tragedy for all of us.

Manchester_Vigil.jpg

We live in difficult times and life is particularly hard for young people who face so many challenges. Music has always been an important part of youth culture, a way to escape everyday problems and the troubles of the world, a way to have fun with friends, by going to concerts, sharing information about favourite artists, playing in bands and so on.

 

My heart goes out to all those affected by the attack, especially to those who have been injured, and to all the bereaved families who have lost loved ones. As someone who was and still is an avid concert-goer, and as a mother of two boys who live for music, I feel a particular sense of sadness that popular music culture has provided the context for this abhorrent violence. As with the terrible attack on the Bataclan concert hall in Paris in November 2015 we must strengthen our resolve to overcome the hatred that lies at the heart of such violence.

 

The fact that this attack purposely targeted children, young people and their families is sickening. Young people from all over the UK, especially teenage girls, had come to Manchester, our great city, for a special night out and none could have imagined the carnage that awaited them at the end of the evening.

 

My thanks go to all the emergency services, fire, police, medics, professionals and volunteers, both on and off duty, who responded in a calm, efficient and compassionate manner, and to all the local businesses such as hotels and taxi firms, and the local people who offered help in myriad forms. Manchester has always been a welcoming and open city and the Mancunian response at times like this makes me immensely proud.

Statement on Manchester Attack

The deadly and senseless attack on young people and their families at the MEN Arena in Manchester late on Monday night, May 22nd, at the end of Ariana Grande's concert...

Have a look at the work I have been doing on Brexit in the European Parliament and across the North West; fighting for the best possible deal for people in the U.K.

Nine months after the referendum on June 23rd last year, Theresa May finally triggered Article 50, beginning the process of the United Kingdom leaving the EU. And now she has called a snap General Election.

Brexit March

Since the triggering of Article 50, your Labour MEPs have watched in deep dismay as this Conservative government abandoned any idea of retaining sincere and close links with our nearest neighbours, egged on by the Eurosceptic rump in their own party and dancing to the tune of UKIP who ironically now have no MP’s in Westminster.

Theresa May's iteration of 'European values' are hollow words at odds with her behaviour. She has shown more enthusiasm for clinching trade deals with brutal regimes in Saudi Arabia and Turkey and holding hands with Donald Trump in Washington, in a sickening display of 'trade at any price' that demeans our country. Backed up by Boris Johnson's embarrassing behaviour as foreign secretary and Liam Fox's shameful support for the self-confessed killer, President Rodrogo Duterte of the Philippines, May heads up one of the most extreme right-wing war-mongering Conservative governments the British people have ever had to endure. Churchill, who envisioned a peaceful post-war union of European people working together for the common good, must be turning in his grave!

At home, before it has even started, we have already seen the cost of Brexit. I was sad to hear of the closure of the biscuit factory in Wigan with the loss of 100 much-needed jobs. The company could no longer pay the higher prices for raw materials imported from the EU, and this trend is set to continue as our economy reels from the uncertainty and capital flight provoked by Brexit, not to mention the exodus of EU nationals (many of whom are the backbone of our NHS) who no longer feel welcome post-referendum. I was one of two MEPs who signed a letter printed in The Independent on March 29th, condemning the Prime Minister's anti-migrant rhetoric and demanding that EU nationals should not be bargaining chips in any Brexit negotiations.

Every day I hear stories of businesses shutting up shop, or struggling to stay afloat. Large firms may seem more resilient but many are looking to relocate production elsewhere in the EU. This is true across virtually all sectors, but especially where collaboration, research and innovation are key, such as renewable energy, and the cultural and creative industries. The threat to our automotive and aerospace industries is also very present as parts are manufactured in many different EU states, each operating under the same harmonised rules and regulations. Outside of the EU there is no guarantee that British plants will be able to operate in such a seamless way, meaning more red tape not less, as we will have to negotiate 27 different sets of rules in order to maintain our manufacturing and trading links with individual Member States.

Small businesses are also feeling the pinch and as many of these are family-run there is a heightened risk that lost livelihoods will also mean losing one's home. Small businesses often rely on being part of a supply chain for large multi-nationals or conglomerates which is one of the reasons why it was so important for Labour to fight to retain the steel industry. The EU has taken action against Chinese steel dumping but our Tory government refused to play ball, so now the steel contracts for our new infrastructure projects are being outsourced to other countries, and our traditional steel-making communities are suffering acute deprivation.

All this has happened over the past year as Brexit became the defining moment in our history. But where do we go from here, especially as the clock is now ticking and experts are concerned that it may take a decade or more to negotiate a new trade deal with the EU after our departure in two years time. The government has produced a White Paper on The Great Repeal Bill which should raise alarm at the undemocratic nature of the sweeping powers it proposes to use, recalling archaic laws going back to the reign of the despotic Henry VIII.

May Day 2017

Meanwhile in our most recent Strasbourg plenary session MEPs voted on a resolution setting the tone for negotiations between the EU and the UK and laying down some red lines. It should come as no surprise that membership of the single market is not possible without freedom of movement so a 'hard' and damaging Brexit now seems sadly inevitable. Indeed, Theresa May in her letter to Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, states that the UK will not seek to remain in either the single market or the customs union. This presents enormous problems, especially in Northern Ireland where goods and people cross an invisible border many times a day, as part of a post-conflict solution brokered by the EU.

It should be noted that David Davis, Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, publicly stated that we would get the same benefits outside the EU as we currently enjoy as a full member. This of course is fanciful as stated by all the key players in the EU institutions and by the other 27 Member States.

Labour's response to the Tories direction of travel is a 6 point test on the final deal based on promises made by Theresa May and prominent members of the LEAVE campaign. This is designed to hold the government to account and provide a framework for scrutiny. This week, Keir Starmer MP outlined the Labour Party’s promise to scrap the Great Repeal Bill and ensure the rights of all EU nationals living in the UK who are currently being used as bargaining chips. Labour will make sure that all EU-derived laws – including workplace laws, consumer rights and environmental protections – are fully protected without qualifications, limitations or sunset clauses. You can read about Labour’s 10 pledges to transform Britain that will shape our election Manifesto here.

 Julie in front of EU Flag

MEPs will get a vote on the final deal but you can rest assured that Labour MEPs will not vote for a deal that risks workers' rights (including health and safety at work) or weakens environmental protection. Over the past few days I participated in many International Workers Day events across the North West, celebrating the progress made on workers rights to date; we cannot see those reversed by a shambolic Tory Brexit.

On a personal level I will work hard to try and ensure that young people can continue to enjoy some of the positive benefits of EU membership, such as Erasmus+ projects that enable study visits abroad and cultural exchange. This programme benefits ALL young people even those with special needs as proved by students from the Together Trust's school for autistic children in Cheadle Hulme who are working with their European peers to develop self-confidence and employability - with excellent results.

As we begin the last two years of our 5 year mandate I remain committed to fighting the Tories version of Brexit. As a pro-European I seek to reassure our sister parties across the EU and beyond that will work with them in the fight for social justice at home and abroad, delivering on the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, putting people before profit, and upholding human rights, freedom and democracy. It is for these reasons that I have decided to remain in the European Parliament until the end of the mandate to fight for the best possible deal for people in the UK and not stand in the upcoming general election. I will be out campaigning with Labour members across the North West and nationally - you can find out what campaigning is going on in your area here.

Afzal

PS Please follow Chukka Umuna's excellent #VoteLeaveWatch campaign which aims to remind the Brexiteers' of their promise of £350 million per week for the NHS along with other lies and myths used to hoodwink a public thoroughly fed up of Tory austerity policies. Also see a list of campaigns you can get involved in:

Spring Newsletter 2017

Have a look at the work I have been doing on Brexit in the European Parliament and across the North West; fighting for the best possible deal for people in...


View More Activities

The Labour Party will place cookies on your computer to help us make this website better.

Please read this to review the updates about which cookies we use and what information we collect on our site.

To find out more about these cookies, see our privacy notice. Use of this site confirms your acceptance of these cookies.