I have received a very large number on this issue with views from every side of the argument.
Firstly; the referendum has been decided and parliament has voted to trigger Article 50 giving notice to leave the EU. In that the outcome of the referendum has been respected. The core of the debate is now do we want the best deal from the negotiations and do you want your sovereign parliament to oversee that process?
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 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.
It is evident that the Prime Minister is constantly distracted by her hard line backbenchers now bolstered with the addition of the former Foreign Secretary joining them and leading some of the attacks on the recent ‘Chequers Deal’. Ultimately the deal will be subject to the approval by parliament and there is a great deal of doubt as to its likely success.
Labour has set out a common sense position which serves our national interest of a stable transition and which offers businesses, who are already thinking about setting up offices in Europe, some certainty. We cannot afford for those many parts of the country, Oldham included, which already feel left behind to suffer even more as jobs start to seep out of the UK.
The governments own analysis is clear; that there will be significant regional variations on the impact of a ‘Hard Brexit’. London will be least affected while the North East the most, and the North West taking a significant hit.
I sincerely hope that the Government recognise the significance of delivering a deal which puts our country in the best possible position after we leave the EU. That requires hard work, clear leadership and a willingness to work across political parties to work through the detail needed.
I’ll continue to play my part and at every opportunity will ask myself; “What’s the best thing for Oldham?” It is entirely possible to respect the referendum result, represent all constituents regardless of how they voted, and to push the government to do what they have so far failed to do; set out a positive vision for Britain; jobs, homes, public services and our place in the world.