Parliament could learn from local leaders

Most people have been baffled by Parliament’s inability to handle the pressing issue of Brexit, despite our EU exit being just weeks away.

If Britain really is sleepwalking towards a ‘no deal’ Brexit, it would be disastrous for our country and its communities. It’s why I joined with Labour Metro Mayors Sadiq Khan, Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram to demand that the Government immediately removes the threat of a ‘no deal’ Brexit.

“Time and time again, Westminster has failed to tackle the long-term issues that our nation faces

Of course, the continued inability of the Government and Parliament to work together to tackle a major challenge will be of no surprise to those of us in local government. We have watched time and time again as Westminster has failed to tackle the long-term issues that our nation faces – whether it is the future funding of adult social care, or a fair and sustainable model that properly funds the councils that deliver vital public services.

I can’t be alone in thinking that it may have been different if local government leaders had been empowered to find real solutions to these problems, rather than Westminster politicians.

The way in which different political parties are able to work together to determine a common position at the LGA should be a model to which Parliament aspires. The most vulnerable in our society can’t wait much longer for Parliament to get its act together. If it continues to prove unable to solve the biggest issues faced by the residents we serve, it should give us the freedom and resources to get on with the job.

I look forward to seeing friends and colleagues at the Labour Local Government Conference in Warwick from 8-9 February. With a varied programme including speeches from Leader Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow Secretaries Angela Rayner, Andrew Gwynne, John Healey, Dawn Butler and many more, it is no surprise that this year we are fully booked.

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