Labour’s parliamentary candidate in the December 12 general election and former Lincoln MP Karen Lee has officially launched her campaign in a bid to hold on to her seat.
Karen Lee, who was elected as the city’s MP in 2017, told The Lincolnite on Monday, November 11, that the people deserve a “better Brexit deal”, and the chance to vote for that deal or remain.
She also defended her actions to vote down previous deals, adding “I represent everyone, not just the majority or minority.”
Here are five things we learned about Karen’s campaign when she paid a visit to the newsroom:
‘It’s not just about Brexit’
Karen Lee told reporters that people on the doorsteps in the city have told her they are much more concerned with local issues like understaffing in the NHS and austerity. On mention of Brexit’s prominence in the battle, she said: “Flooding and weather conditions highlights the fact that the green agenda, climate emergency should actually be the most prominent thing on the agenda in this election. That’s what’s affecting our everyday lives.”
But… back to Brexit
How does Karen propose the UK should resolve the debilitating deadlock in Parliament? “We need to have something which brings the country together again. We will negotiate a sensible deal, one which allows for frictionless trade. And definitely not a no deal. Get a better deal and then it has to go back to the people. The choice would be the sensible deal, or to remain.”
What about the referendum result?
Karen Lee voted to remain in the 2016 EU Referendum, and previously pledged to respect the result. She has voted against deals negotiated by both Theresa May and Boris Johnson. Last week, in an interview with The Lincolnite, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Robert Jenrick accused her of voting for “more dither, delay and expense, and refusing to accept the result.”
Karen Lee responded: “Theresa May’s deal didn’t allow for frictionless trade and Boris Johnson’s deal was even worse. That’s why I didn’t vote for them.”
“The prime minister voted against Theresa May’s deal twice. There’s no consensus through parliament.”
“I would say to the housing secretary, Labour have said, we have got a huge crisis in this country of homelessness. We have said we’re going to build more houses, and those houses have got to be environmentally friendly. The Conservatives have had nine years in Government, and they’ve still not got it right.
“We don’t need any dither and delay when it comes to sorting out the social issues. The one thing I have done differently, is I have been a voice of social justice in Lincoln and I have given people a voice.
“For the party in power to say that opposition parities have dithered and delayed is a bit rich”
Social issues a priority
Karen Lee said she she and her team have taken on thousands of individual cases in her two and a half years as MP. During this time, she felt it was “clear Universal Credit doesn’t work. We would get rid of universal credit and find something that works better.”
She added that homelessness is also still a major issue in the city, and that there is a record reliance on food banks.
Investment is the key
Karen responded to and criticised the Conservative party’s £1.2 trillion costing forecast of the Labour party’s yet-to-be-revealed manifesto. She said: “We have been clear about our spending plans. It’s about a little more tax from those earning over £80,000.
“We will invest in public services across the board, and not just the NHS. We will put police officers back in. The fire service is really struggling and I have asked John McDonnell for what we need, and what I always get is ‘everything has got to be costed.”