Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah rejects Government claim the North East is Tory
During questions in the House of Commons today, Michael Gove, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, claimed that “the North East was Tory” as they “stand up for workers.” Gove made this claim whilst avoiding a question on Brexit and businesses by Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah.
In this exchange, Chi was highlighting the challenges small businesses are facing in the North East, uncertainty over Brexit, lack of support as they endure Tier 3 Covid-19 measures and the exclusion of some business owners from any pandemic support.
Chi said: The Tories don’t stand up for workers, in fact they want a race to the bottom on workers’ rights as well as the food we eat to the detriment of local farmers. This exchange shows just how arrogant and complacent they are.
Chi’s Tweet with video of the question she asked : https://twitter.com/ChiOnwurah/status/1336687742651150336
Transcription of Question:
“The Government’s “Get Ready for Brexit” campaign looks lovely, but it does not answer the question: get ready for what? Deal? No deal? What deal? Businesses have a pandemic to deal with. Will the right hon. Gentleman admit that the combination of Brexit shambles with the absence of proper support for small businesses facing covid-19 measures, and the total exclusion from support of so many businesses, means that the Government are totally letting down small businesses in the north-east and across the country?”
“It will probably not surprise the hon. Lady to learn that I do not agree with her. When it comes to Brexit transition, we know that because we are leaving the single market and the customs union, and whether or not we secure a free trade agreement, much of what most businesses need to do is broadly the same, and of course the Government stand ready to help businesses to adjust.
“The fate and the future of businesses in the north-east are very dear to me, having lived and worked in Newcastle in the past. It is striking how many of those who work for businesses in the north-east voted Conservative just 12 months ago, which is why Conservative MPs in Blyth Valley, in Bishop Auckland, in Redcar and across the north-east are standing up. I will mention more constituencies that the Conservatives won if the hon. Lady likes: North West Durham, with Consett, is now a Conservative constituency; Sedgefield, with Spennymoor, is now a Conservative constituency. Anyway, as the hon. Lady and the House know, the north-east is Tory, and that is because we stand up for workers.”