NOTHING has changed. No phrase has better summed up the last few years in British politics.

And it seems that we’re talking about nothing else at the moment apart from one issue.

But I was not elected in 2017 to bang on about Europe – the current Brexit debate is not why I got into politics.

As critical as it is to get this process right, and I’ve dedicated many columns setting out the path I believe we must follow, I refuse to be dragged into the Tory psychodrama over Europe that has consumed our politics and our country.

The division in our community is deeply unsettling.

Reading emails on both sides of the polarised debate from those who have always voted Labour – advocating No Deal, No Brexit, a second referendum, a different deal, the Prime Minister’s deal – reminded me that there is far more than unites us in Leigh than divides us.

As a post-industrial community desperate for investment, renewal and revitalisation, we must remain united to fight for our towns. We cannot allow this explosion from the Conservative Party to engulf us and divide us – to do so risks the progress that we need.

Let’s remember why Leigh has voted Labour for 100 years.

It was the Labour Government in 1945 that gave our workers the homes, healthcare and welfare system that we deserved but the Tories opposed.

When the Conservative Government closed our mines in the 80s it was Labour fighting for our community.

When the industrial decline robbed us of our manufacturing base, it is Labour that has always been on our side.

The last Labour Government gave us our Sure Start centres, our National Minimum Wage and the funding our schools and hospitals needed – standing up for communities like ours.

Then it was the Conservative Party that gave us austerity.

Their political decision hit communities like ours the hardest – 2,000 fewer police officers now in Manchester, just in our borough £4 million will be cut from primary school budgets and £4.3 million cut from secondary school budgets, and between April and September last year in Leigh, 2,392 three-day emergency food supplies were given to local people in crisis, with 833 going to children.

It’s shameful. This is a Government that does not stand up for us and communities like ours.

This is why I got into politics, a daily reminder of the people I stand up for.

It is not to bang on in endless debates about Europe, it is to represent our proud working-class community, to work tirelessly for local people living in unacceptable 21st century poverty, it is to fight for those who the system has let down.

Every week in the constituency I see the burning injustices that the Tories are still ignoring – I know that these are the real issues we need to tackle, and I will never let them rest as your MP.

We cannot let the current chaos divide our community – we have always remained united in solidarity because we all know that it is the only way that we will transform our society for the better.