Many thanks for your emails outlining your concerns about Brexit.
As you will be aware, in 2017 I stood for re-election on a Labour Manifesto that promised to respect the result of the referendum and for a Brexit that would protect the economy, jobs, worker’s rights and our security.
Hundreds of constituents, on both sides have contacted me and they are united in wanting me to oppose the Prime Minister’s Withdrawal Deal. Some would like to see a ‘no deal’ and others a second referendum. What has become very clear is that few people have changed their mind, either way, and views have become more entrenched. The depth of division is very worrying for the future of our communities.
I know, having heard first hand, from businesses, unions and public sector representatives, how damaging a ‘no deal’ would be for every sector and every person in this country and that is why it had to be rejected by Parliament.
With all of this in mind I gave careful consideration to the indicative votes and could not vote for the Beckett amendment because, as Jeremy Corbyn has said, it goes beyond Labour’s policy for seeking a second referendum, as agreed by Conference, and instructs this Parliament not to implement and ratify any withdrawal agreement and framework unless they have been approved by the people in a confirmatory public vote.
I did not vote against the amendment as it was a whipped vote. But I could not vote for an amendment that did nothing to restore faith in democracy. I know that, with opinions hardening, we must regain the confidence of the 59.5% of people in North Tyneside, who voted on the winning side in the Referendum and who are telling me that Labour is reneging on its Manifesto promise.
Today, Friday 29th March, together with my Labour colleagues I will be voting against the Prime Minister’s motion because the Withdrawal Agreement and the Political Declaration cannot be separated. That is what the PM has said before. It was what the EU has said. That was right then and remains the case now. Waving through the Withdrawal Agreement without any certainty over our future relationship with the EU is an unacceptable risk with jobs, rights and the economy.
Labour won’t take that risk. And we won’t leave the terms of our future relationship to be decided by the outcome of the Tory leadership contest.
The Prime Minister should drop her failed deal and allow time for Parliament to find a consensus on a different way forward that can protect jobs, rights and the economy. This is what Labour must strive to achieve in coming weeks.