After two years of botched negotiations, the Prime Minister’s deal is a miserable failure. Whether people voted leave or remain, nobody voted for this. As I’m sure you will have seen in the press, the Government is now in chaos and Theresa May’s position as Prime Minister is very shaky.
The deal essentially falls into two parts: a withdrawal agreement that includes proposals for a backstop and a political declaration that is incredibly vague and opens the gate to a hard Tory Brexit, which would strip away rights and weaken our economy and society.
It does not protect jobs, rights, living standards or environmental standards. It won’t ensure frictionless trade for UK businesses and it provides no certainty for our future relationship with the EU. It also includes a deeply flawed Irish backstop.
Taken together, the two parts of the deal definitely fail Labour’s six tests and we will vote against it.
Our front bench has tabled an amendment which puts into practice the position agreed at Labour Party conference and calls on Parliament to:
- Reject Theresa May’s Brexit deal because it fails to protect jobs, living standards, workers’ rights and environmental standards and does not provide sufficient guarantees on national security.
- Oppose the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal.
- Keep all options on the table to protect the UK from a no deal scenario, with a general election as the best outcome for the country.
If Theresa May’s plan is voted down by MPs next week, it is Parliament’s duty to set the direction for the next steps and we should have all options on the table at that time. Those options should absolutely include the possibility of calling for a people’s vote and/or a second referendum on the terms of the Brexit deal, as well as a general election.
As you may have seen in the news, on Tuesday the opposition parties (and a few Tories!) joined forces to defeat the Government on two key votes. Firstly, MPs passed a historic motion finding the Government in contempt of Parliament for failing to publish in full the legal advice on Brexit. Secondly – and before the Prime Minister was even able to open the formal debate – we passed a cross-party amendment aimed at strengthening the power of Parliament in the event that the deal is voted down. It allows for an amendable motion 21 days after any defeat, paving the way for a ‘Plan B’ option.
Little by little we are gaining ground. We have several more days of hard work and debate ahead of us before the ‘meaningful vote’, which is expected on Tuesday 11th December.
As your MP I welcome your views and comments at this crucial time, so thank you to everyone who has contacted me.