THE UK is rudderless as the weakened Tory government continue without a plan, a negotiating position or perhaps even more importantly a vision of what Britain can be after we leave the EU.
Labour’s position on Brexit during the referendum was clear. We believed our country’s interests were best served as a full member of the European Union. Like the vast majority of Labour MPs I campaigned to Remain and believe still that it was the right stance to take.
Following the referendum result I, together with the vast majority of Labour MPs voted to Trigger Article 50. Labour has also been consistent in both respecting the result of the referendum and in ensuring that rather than Brexit being used to cause further division; we speak for everyone in country in fighting for the best deal when leaving.
While the Tories have been chaotic in their organisation, planning and woeful in leadership it was left to Labour to be the adult in the Commons and to put our country before narrow party interest.
The Tories have formed a government, but they have left the pitch when it comes to giving leadership. Hard work and clarity was needed and so it was for Keir Stammer to set out Labours position which seeks to give certainty as our country negotiates its withdrawal from the EU.
The Government has lost vital negotiating time with the calling of the General Election and its failure to secure a majority without relying on the DUP has left it weakened.
What is vital for Labour and for confidence in our politics is that the referendum result is respected both by the letter and by the spirit.
Labour has set out a common sense position which serves our national interest of a stable transition lasting up to four years through full participation in the Single Market and Customs Union.
And so the work continues to ensure that the best possible deal is reached for the UK and for that to happen the Tories need to step up to the mammoth task ahead. It’s not enough to grandstand or push out soundbites; that in itself makes us look petty and weak. We must move forward with a clear vision of a progressive United Kingdom underpinned by a plan for a future economy powered by decent public services such as investment in education, skills and vital infrastructure.
Too many parts of the country do not simply feel left behind; they have been left behind. Industry and decent jobs have been stripped away and hardworking communities have been left fighting for scarce resources. We must make the demand for a new settlement for where power sits and who makes decisions and in whose interests.