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?
This weak Tory Government should not be allowed to make a deal behind closed doors which could leave the people of Oldham much worse off and the economy in real difficulty.
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.
Labour’s front Bench have been very clear. This is such a flawed Bill that the Prime Minister should have dropped it and started again. Instead, she has adopted her normal blinkered approach and forced through a Bill that will need extensive amendment and improvement in whole range of areas. This is likely to cause delays and division in Parliament, and the Prime Minister has nobody to blame but herself.
Labour amendments would give greater control to Parliament and take power back from the hands of Ministers. They would protect key rights and environmental safeguards and ensure that the government does not have a legislative blank cheque. These amendments were defeated but in the Committee Stage of this Bill when the details are debated Labour colleagues will be arguing for the best deal for Britain.
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. This Government is behaving with an arrogance, assuming it can ignore parliament and the people, and that we will accept any deal they come up with. I do not want to see my constituents ripped off by the Tories’ secret deal as we withdraw from Europe and that is why I voted as I did last night.
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?”