Today Parliament is voting on May’s plans – which are a massive downgrade for the UK, for our economy, for our international standing and for people’s opportunities and life chances. I campaigned to remain in the EU, voted against triggering Article 50 and remain opposed to Brexit. I will be voting against the proposals and outlined just some of my reasons why in the Commons debate which you can see below.
I have been disgusted at the extent to which some MPs have pandered to the hard right, even the Prime Minister treated millions of citizens of other EU countries who live and contribute to our community and across the UK with contempt, suggesting people were somehow ‘queue-jumpers’. I questioned May directly on this shallow insult last month as you can see here. I also stressed that, in cheer-leading the end of Freedom of Movement, Ministers are insulting the biggest losers of this policy: the British people who potentially face £300 million charges to live, work, study or holiday in EU member states which are currently free. You can see this intervention here.
Last week I also voted for two successful amendments to block No Deal occurring and to ensure that, when May’s plans are rejected, the Government comes back to Parliament with an alternative proposition in three days. These amendments demonstrate that there is no majority in Parliament for No Deal. The Government – purely in order to ramp up pressure – are wasting billions of pounds on No Deal (including the ferry company with no ferries) despite telling us for years that there was no money for the police, NHS, or to tackle the housing crisis. The lies have been exposed, just as they were when Theresa May found £1 billion for the DUP to prop up her minority Government when she lost her mandate and majority in the 2017 election.
Tonight we will know more, but if May does not resign, she will have to come up with an alternative. I back Parliament having more control but suspect other amendments may be lost. I also suspect any motion of no confidence will be defeated (not least because the DUP will back the Government sadly) making a general election unlikely.
In those circumstances, I would like MPs to have the courage to end the uncertainty and back revoking Article 50 outright. Those who still believe in Brexit need to re-gather and work out which of their promises are deliverable (if any). Too much damage has been done already and our country’s international standing has been undermined considerably. Article 50 it can also be extended to allow for a new vote. I support a People’s Vote with the option to remain in the EU now more is known and the variety of leave options (and the damage each causes) has become clearer.
I campaigned against leaving the EU in 2016 and our area saw 72.3% support remain (the figure is now estimated to be closer to 80%). I am proud to represent local people’s views and spoke about this on the Sunday Politics which you can see here (about 20 minutes in, just after Sadiq). In the event of a new referendum, I will be standing with the vast majority of Labour members and supporters who want to stay in the EU.
I was elected as MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark in 2015 and re-elected in 2017 on a simple promise that I would never vote for anything that harms our community. May’s deal would harm our community and whole country, as would any Brexit and I will continue to oppose it.