YP Comment: PM’s new Brexit power struggle. Pressure grows on Theresa May

Little known tory MP Stephen Phillips has resigned over Brexit.
Little known tory MP Stephen Phillips has resigned over Brexit.
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EVEN though Theresa May’s steady style of leadership has won the country’s respect, this does not appear to be shared by the wider establishment which appears intent on undermining the Prime Minister’s Brexit strategy.

First the High Court ruled that Parliament, where a majority of MPs supported Britain’s membership of the EU, should determine when Article 50 is triggered to begin the country’s disentanglement from Brussels, and not the Government.

And now, to compound matters, the self-serving, little-known, Brexit-supporting Tory backbencher Stephen Phillips resigned his safe seat due to “irreconcilable policy differences” with Mrs May, namely his belief that the Commons should have a greater say over negotiating tactics and strategy.

With Zac Goldsmith forcing a by-election over Heathrow Airport’s expansion, Mrs May’s small Commons majority looks even more vulnerable and the prospect of a snap general election ever greater at a time when politicians of all persuasions should be working together to implement the democratic will of the people.

This will not happen when the likes of Nick Clegg, the former Deputy Prime Minister, believe that unelected Lib Dem peers – and others – have a legitimate mandate to thwart Mrs May as part of wider destabilisation strategy in the hope that the June 23 referendum vote can be ignored or overturned. Further evidence that Parliament should have considered every eventuality in far greater detail before sanctioning David Cameron’s referendum plan by a majority of six to one, this ultimate power struggle is simply detracting attention away from the well-meaning efforts of organisations like Sheffield Chamber of Commerce to boost the export potential of SMEs on its patch, important efforts which deserve wider consideration.

A thankless task: Police deserve greater protection

AS befits the proud daughter of a retired policeman, Halifax MP Holly Lynch spoke with understandable empathy when she told Parliament: “An assault on a police officer is an assault on society.”

This should not be a party political issue – it should shame the whole country that there are people who think it is acceptable to spit in the eyes of individual officers or throw acid in their faces. And it should also concern everyone that the ever lenient judiciary is not prepared to use the full sentencing powers already at its disposal to send out a strong message that such sickening behaviour will never be tolerated.

At a time when so many MPs are persona non grata, it’s reassuring that there are Parliamentarians willing to spend shifts on the front line to become better informed and Ms Lynch makes valid points about the time now spent by officers dealing with missing and vulnerable people, and specifically those with mental health issues.

Even more encouraging was the cross-party consensus – Ms Lynch’s address was followed by the widely-acclaimed maiden speech by Tracy Brabin, the new Batley & Spen MP, which was praised by her normally outspoken Tory opponent Philip Davies. Indeed, the graciousness of the Shipley MP’s response was then acknowledged by Andy Burnham, the former shadow home secretary, in a rare show of unanimity which had to be seen to be believed. Let’s hope all parties work together to ensure that officers have the political support, and the physical protection, that their thankless job requires as well as the full backing of the courts. They deserve nothing less.

The best of the best: Yorkshire’s awards season

THE swagger and self-belief that many associate with this great county is at odds with a more reserved demeanour when it comes to celebrating endeavour.

There is much to showcase as innovation and creativity are taken to new levels of brilliance, whether it be the Taste Awards organised by Deliciouslyyorkshire to toast the region’s food industry; The Yorkshire Post’s very own Excellence in Business Awards last night and the forthcoming White Rose Awards which will showcase tourism excellence.

However Yorkshire’s very own awards season is worthy of wider recognition. The winners are the best of the best and it is to be hoped that their example inspires, and encourages, others to become pioneers in their own right – the timeless adage ‘success breeds success’ remains priceless.

And let’s not be so shy when highlighting this ingenuity – there is a very good story which not only needs telling, but deserves selling to the wider world.