Last week was another historic week for our country.
I have been grateful to receive much correspondence from my constituents arguing for various positions with regards to the Brexit debate. There are a variety of strongly held views on the matter, and I have been heartened to see a deep engagement in the political debate. This is good for our democracy.
Brightside and Hillsborough voted to leave in 2016 – and I have been clear that I respect the result of the referendum.
However, as I have previously outlined, I continue to vote against the Prime Minister’s failed deal. This is because it is a bad deal for our country – bad for the economy, jobs, workers’ rights, environmental rights and consumer protections. The deal has been voted down twice by an overwhelming majority.
In a series of votes, this week we also had the opportunity to vote against a ‘’no deal’’ and I did this proudly. Let me be clear, a no deal outcome would be a catastrophic outcome for our community and I am pleased Parliament ruled this out as an option.
We were also able to vote to extend Article 50 for a short technical period – this is so that we avoid crashing out with no deal and gives us the opportunity to force the Government to change the deal into one we can agree on.
It is time that a new deal is considered.
The Labour Party have been clear we must respect the referendum result, but that this should not jeopardise our economy and peoples livelihoods. This is why we have put forward a new proposal for leaving the European Union which would include a customs union, close alignment to the single market and an outright commitment to workers, environmental and consumer rights. This is paramount if we are to protect our community.
Our deal has been met warmly by European negotiators and is a sure way to maintain the Good Friday Agreement which is a legal commitment we have made in Ireland and is an important part of our national history.
The next couple of weeks will continue to be of historic significance for our country.
There will be further votes in Parliament to break the deadlock and I hope we will have the opportunity to alter the deal significantly. However, we will also support all options on the table in order to ensure that we avoid a damaging Tory Brexit, including a public vote.
I will continue to fight for our community – to safeguard jobs and the economy and to protect our crucial workers, environmental and consumer rights.