In the last few weeks, I have been contacted by hundreds of local people, expressing many different views both about Theresa May’s proposed Brexit deal and the decisions MP are being asked to take about our exit from the European Union. I am tremendously grateful for everyone who has taken the time to get in touch. At every stage, it has been important to know what people across Brightside and Hillsborough think.
Most people, whether they voted to leave or to remain, told me that they thought the withdrawal agreement that May brought back was completely unacceptable. This so-called deal left us facing a blind Brexit in which we were asked to leave with no idea of our future trading relationship with the EU alongside the prospect of being subject to a trading backstop which we have no power to end ourselves. The deal was bad for jobs and the economy. It failed Labour’s six tests for a deal and rejected our sensible proposal to form a new customs union with the EU, the most effective way to give the frictionless trade that business needs. It came with a political declaration which is simply a twenty-six-page wish list and not a guarantee of our future relationship with the EU.
MP cannot overturn the referendum result, but I know that many people believe that a public vote may be the only way forward. It is for this reason that Labour have put forward proposals to Parliament that would give MPs the chance to decide whether a referendum is the right option for our country. This proposal is alongside our work to win support in Parliament for our proposals for a new customs union and a close relationship to the Single Market.
I did not come into politics to make my constituents poorer. I will not accept any result that causes huge damage to Sheffield and that means that I must reject any notion that we could leave with ‘no deal’. This would be devastating locally and nationally as is shown by analysis from many organisations. I will be supporting efforts in the coming days and weeks to ensure that no deal is ruled out.
I have never seen our Country so divided as it is now over Brexit. My guiding principles are to protect our communities from the economic damage that a hard Brexit will cause and respond to the reasons why people wanted to leave the European Union. There is no simple answer but it is now abundantly clear that Theresa May cannot achieve this. Only a Labour government can bring the country together and the fight to win one goes on.