Prime Minister Boris Johnson has put forward a new set of proposals to the European Union which will deliver Brexit without any of the disruption that could happen if we leave without a withdrawal deal. Will MPs back it? Most Conservative and DUP members have said they would. However, it will need some support from Labour to pass through the House of Commons and House of Lords. Labour MPs have said they are worried about a no-deal but some suspect they simply want to find ways of blocking any kind of Brexit.
This is the moment of truth. Three years after the referendum, here is an opportunity to finally get Brexit done - as promised in the Conservative and Labour manifestos - without any disruption. If MPs vote it down again, then one law says we should leave on 31 October and another law says the Prime Minister should ask for an extension on the EU’s terms. In other words, it will be the biggest parliamentary showdown since the People’s Budget drama of 1909-1911. I have no idea who will win but those willing to gamble on an uncertain outcome should not complain if they end up getting the opposite of what they wanted.
Chepstow is gridlocked every morning and congestion is likely to get worse with ever more houses being built both in the town and over the border in Gloucestershire. The obvious solution is a bypass around the town to link up with the old Severn Bridge. An initial survey has been done; now detailed plans need to be produced. This study alone will cost just over £1m. Monmouthshire County Council has promised to pay a third of the financial costs if the Welsh Government and UK Government pay one third each. As yet, I have had verbal commitments but nothing in writing. I will keep chasing.
The population of the UK is growing by almost 420,000 people per year, of which about 80 per cent is linked to immigration. At their party conference, Labour proposed to support freedom of movement into the UK and relax immigration controls. It all sounds very compassionate and no doubt anyone criticising this policy will be accused of “racism”. But allowing everyone who wants to come to the UK the right to do so will cause huge problems for infrastructure and mean even greater housing shortages and congestion in towns like Chepstow.
*Published in the South Wales Argus on 7 October 2019*