Let's hope Conservative MPs defy their whip and listen to voters instead in today's Brexit debate

Dear Conservative MPs,

Today you have the opportunity to vote for the UK to stay inside the customs union and to ensure a meaningful vote on the final Brexit deal in parliament.

You can listen to the pressure of the whips to support the government or remember those cancer victims who require their treatments to be imported without restrictions.

You can give into the disingenuous threats that you are undermining our negotiating position. Or you can acknowledge the elephant in the room that Boris Johnson has done more to undermine our international standing than any single vote in the House of Commons possibly could.

You can vote to save the skin of someone who won’t even be your leader within a couple of years. Or you can vote to put your country first.

You can vote to appease those newspapers whose headlines resulted in you getting threats. Or vote to support hard working people whose businesses may be at risk if we crash out of the EU with no deal. I know what I would do if I was fortunate enough to be in your position.

Chris Key
Address supplied

Maybe it is time for immigrants and their children to consider ‘going home’

Our publicly elected members of parliament have overseen the implementation of the Home Office’s 2014 “hostile environment” measures, which led to the expulsion of 53 Caribbean people from England, even though these people legally entered Britain, and many of them travelled on British passports.

Britain’s Prime Minister May said that the English public supported the “hostile environment” policy; therefore, despite the harm this policy has heaped on Caribbean people, the prime minister supports the continuation of this hostile policy, as do parliamentarians of all political colours.

Now that parliament has rejected the recent call of the home secretary, Sajid Javid, to end the “hostile environment” measures, can the children of the Caribbean’s Windrush generation be confident that our parliament will not locate a mechanism which specifically targets these Windrush children for greater scrutiny and possible expulsion from Britain? Britain – and indeed Europe – is increasingly defining itself against those not of Caucasian heritage.

It is time for non-Caucasian people of Caribbean heritage to review just how welcome they are in a Europe which is increasingly defining himself in terms of its Caucasian heritage. During the Commonwealth meeting in May, the Jamaican prime minister made a call to English people of Caribbean heritage to apply for Caribbean citizenship.

With the recent report of Parliament rejecting the ending of the “hostile environment” policy, I truly believe it is time for English people of Caribbean heritage to consider “going home”.

Chaka Artwell

We should continue to encourage mothers to breastfeed

In the 1980s, 90s and 2000s when I breast fed my three daughters – on the bus, the train, in cafes, while chairing Newcastle city council area housing committee meetings and at monthly full council meetings (you get the picture) – health visitors and midwives were struggling to persuade mothers to breastfeed. They did this because every single survey from physical and mental health to parent-child bonding and school achievement came out on the side of the breast fed child.

Now – in the age of don’t let anyone feel offended – “guilt” is the new term for trying to encourage/cajole/educate women into doing what is best for their baby. What are the RCM thinking?

There are no surveys anywhere done by any reputable group that indicate that bottle feeding is better than breast feeding. We lag behind most of Europe in this area.

In our civilised progressive country we now have children staggering round in nappies until the age of four and turning up to school unable to use cutlery or the toilet or string a coherent sentence together.

As I walk past yet another child (with 30 years parenting experience and two as a granny, I judge this child to be at least 3 ½ years but possibly as old as 4 ½ ) in a buggy, in nappies but with an iPad on its knee, I cannot but conclude that this latest pronouncement is another retrograde step and an endorsement of passive parenting.

Amanda Baker

Another solution with Trump?

Given that the possible attraction for Donald Trump in forging an alliance with North Korea was based on the unanimous belief that it would be impossible to achieve, how about telling him that no one could bring Israel to accept a two state solution in Israel/Palestine?

Joanna Pallister

EU leaders need Trump

The old order of liberal trade in a globalised world collapsed in 2008, but the anomaly by which America allowed the EU to run a protectionist customs union while the US paid for Europe’s security lived on.

It was obvious this was one of the “swamps” Donald Trump might drain but Europe’s three Ms (Merkel, May and Macron) stupidly thought they could retain their free ride while lecturing him on how to behave.

He seeks a series of bilateral relationships and isn’t interested in herding a cat-pack of western statelets. The G7 is the political equivalent of a climate jolly and it was time a US president exposed its pompous mendacity.

John Cameron
St Andrews

Fashion – or humour

Seeing today’s item on fashion (The best shows from London Fashion Week Men’s SS19) prompts me to repeat a letter I sent several years ago to ask; does nobody ever burst out laughing at these displays?

Tom Saul

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