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Like many in Parliament, I have completely lost faith in the Prime Minister’s handling of the Brexit negotiations and her failure to try and bring this country back together. Her priority appears to be maintaining her Party while all the while the UK is haemorrhaging business investment, consumer confidence falls, and growth has stalled. The situation is so serious, particularly for business.
My party, Labour, has now come out in favour of holding a second referendum, with an option to remain in the EU. Labour have tried hard throughout this process to soften the Prime Minister’s approach, but these efforts have been repeatedly ignored. The Prime Minister is determined to take things down to the wire and blackmail MPs into voting for her disastrous deal. As it’s almost inevitable that the Prime Minister’s deal will be rejected, I am pleased that Labour have committed to putting the issue back to the people. This uncertainty is now really hurting businesses and consumer confidence and needs to be resolved.
The Prime Minister has now announced that MPs will vote again on her deal by 12th March, and that if her deal is voted down again, that MPs will be given a vote on whether to pursue a reckless no-deal Brexit or to delay the negotiations by extending Article 50. At least the Prime Minister has accepted the huge pressure from Labour, businesses and others and MPs will be given the option to prevent a disastrous no-deal.
Last week in Parliament I spoke in a debate about the Government’s plans to strike new trade deals after we leave the EU, with countries such as the USA, Australia and New Zealand. I asked is it not more sensible to prioritise the customers on our doorstep? When I did a paper round, I always thought that it was better to do the paper round on my own street, rather than on the other side of the village; maybe I am wrong. The EU is by far our biggest market and we should prioritise trade with our closest neighbours. I also raised concerns of our farmers, manufacturing sectors and NHS that would likely be opened up to overwhelming competition from US commercial interests and industrial-scale farming.