Even by Parliament’s standards, it’s been an interesting fortnight. Our new leader faced Cameron like Jeremy, (or should that be David), versus Goliath.
Jeremy had never even stood at the dispatch box before, but made a great job of it. Refreshingly, he chose questions from people who contacted him, giving a voice to those who are often voiceless.
Jeremy Corbyn was not my first choice, but was a clear winner. I’m delighted for him. His campaign was amazing and re-enthused thousands of people. Interestingly, more people voted for Jeremy than are members of the Conservative Party. That’s a powerful mandate.
Last week I spoke and voted against a Private Bill to legalise assisted suicide for the terminally ill. I was concerned that vulnerable people would feel pressured into ending their lives, to avoid becoming a burden on their loved ones. I know that if it had been available whilst my mum was dying, she would have tortured herself every day, wondering if she ought to relieve my sister and me of the strain of looking after her.
The only way to secure dignity in dying is to improve the quality of end-of-life care. This country has great hospices and many wonderful care professionals, but the truth is that coverage is uneven. We must ensure everyone has access to excellent end-of-life care. The Tories are certainly reminding us why they need a strong opposition. They introduced a terrible Bill, savaging workers’ basic rights and in the same week cut tax credits. Three million working families will lose £1,000 a year.
It was a stark reminder why we need to win in 2020 and get back into government. I’ll be working with Jeremy every step of the way to make sure that happens.