Brexit MEP Brian Monteith: Peterborough By-election Is About Trust – And Our MPs Have Broken It

Brexit
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Make no mistake, the Peterborough by-election is about one thing more than any other – trust, or the recent lack of it.

The Peterborough by-election is being held because the Labour MP, Fiona Onasanya lied to the police – found guilty of perverting the course of justice and given a three-month custodial sentence. As the sentence did not exclude her from remaining an MP – or participating in votes even when out of prison under licence – a public recall petition was initiated that removed her from office and forced a by-election to be held.

Now the Brexit Party has a good opportunity to win its first Westminster seat. It has a popular local candidate in Mike Greene, who, for all he voted Conservative in the past, broke with that party because it too had lied.

Theresa May promised more than one hundred times that the United Kingdom would leave the European Union on March 29th. It didn’t happen, and it was the last straw for Greene. The prime minister never had any intention of leaving unless her withdrawal treaty was the method, despite saying over thirty times that “No Deal is better than a bad deal”.

Labour has been no different. Jeremy Corbyn’s manifesto in the 2017 general election promised to respect the decision of the referendum and not remain in the EU’s Single Market or Customs Union. We can now see the commitments were worthless and just a ruse to get people’s votes. Labour is still misleading voters even now.

Having previously argued against a second EU referendum it is now party policy to hold to a “public vote”. He has already misled Leavers, but he could be misleading Remainers too. How can anyone trust the party of Corbyn?

Corbyn’s Labour knows its record of dishonesty has been rumbled by the public. Any dog in the street could see that Labour voters who voted Leave have been flocking to the newly-formed Brexit Party, so how did Corbyn react? Typically, he ran a campaign that was lying on stilts. Accusing the Brexit Party of being far-right, he categorised Nigel Farage and those who might support the Brexit Party of being in a camp of racists, fascists, and bigots.

He ignored the huge diversity of Brexit Party candidates in the European elections, including people of all religions – Roman Catholics, Protestants, Anglicans, Muslims, Jews, Sikhs – and a veritable rainbow of skin colours and sexual preferences. Labour MPs such as David Lammy and Labour MEPs such as Neena Gill are still promoting this smear while Labour’s undeniable anti-Semitism was given a boost by none other than its Peterborough candidate, Lisa Forbes, on social media – forcing her into an embarrassing apology.

Labour has become one big lie.

This means the by-election comes down to trust. Can the electorate trust Labour any more or can it rebuild its faith in politicians and what they say by returning Mike Greene and the Brexit party?

Greene comes with an impressive backstory, defeating adversity and challenges that would blow most people over to become that person we all can admire and need more of – someone who creates wealth for himself and his family but then also becomes a philanthropist for the community. Money is not what drives Mike Greene; helping others realise their goals like he realised his is what makes him tick. A straight talker, nobody can accuse Greene of being duplicitous or a liar.

What might save the day for Labour is not that it can suddenly be trusted, not that there has been a change in behaviour of Jeremy Corbyn, or the Labour candidate should be beatified.

What might save Labour is that as the incumbent party that narrowly defeated Stewart Jackson of the Conservatives it undoubtedly has at its disposal a massive bank of data from past canvassing that tells its campaign which people might vote Labour.

Labour will have been on a campaign footing from the moment Onasanya was expelled from the Labour Party in December 2018. That’s some six months to prepare for the by-election in waiting compared to the Brexit Party that is only seven weeks old and in that time has been focusing on the European elections.

The reality is that if Mike Greene beats the Conservatives it will be a major achievement, if he goes further and beats Labour too it will be unprecedented. The bookies have the Brexit Party as hot favourites to win, and why not? When it comes down to the issue of trust, of restoring faith in our democracy in a seat that voted Leave in the referendum a Brexit Party gain – after Labour was trashed last month – such an outcome makes eminent sense. But this is not the European elections where data and a polling day “get the vote out” operation were of no consequence. It’s a factor only political geeks might be aware of but it may make all the difference to Labour saving face.

If, after all, Labour voters stay with Corbyn and his acolytes they will be accepting and condoning all his deceptions – giving him encouragement to carry on deceiving – but nobody will be laughing.

If Conservative voters feel they should stick with the Tory candidate they will be condoning all of Theresa May’s untruths on Brexit and giving free licence to the next leader to do the same all over again.

If Peterborough voters want to establish trust again – and send a strong message to all British politicians to be true to their word, then the message is clear – choose the local man you can trust by supporting Mike Greene and the Brexit Party.

Brian Monteith was elected as a Brexit Party MEP for the North-East in the European elections.

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