Over the weekend, I attended the People’s Vote march with over one million other people from across the country, calling on the Government to put the final say on Brexit back to the people. Since the referendum result, I have received thousands of emails, letters, postcards, tweets and phone calls from constituents who feel let down and angry about the Government’s decision to plough on with Brexit with little thought for the 48% of the country who voted Remain. In Lewisham Deptford alone, almost 23,000 people have so far signed the petition on Parliament’s website to revoke Article 50, which amounts to nearly 1 in 3 of Lewisham Deptford’s electorate. This petition has now attracted more signatures than any other parliamentary petition in history. People are angry about the lack of regard for EU citizens’ rights. People are angry about the impact Brexit is already having on their businesses. And people are angry about the Government’s reluctance to take a no deal Brexit off the negotiating table.
The correspondence I have received on this issue since 2016 reflects my own fears and anger about the Government’s conduct over Brexit. I campaigned passionately to remain in the EU during the 2016 referendum and in 2017 I broke the Labour whip for the first time to vote against triggering Article 50. Not only did I take this decision on behalf of Lewisham Deptford, over 70% of whom voted to Remain, but I also believed it was reckless of the Prime Minister to enforce a hard deadline on exiting the European Union before negotiations had even properly begun.
I now believe that the only way to break the current deadlock in Parliament is a public vote on the final deal with remain as an option and I will be doing all I can over the coming weeks to secure this.