After recent correspondence and discussion with constituents about Brexit and the recent vote in Parliament, I felt it was time to give an update about where we are at with Brexit.
We are currently due to leave the European Union on 31 October 2019. There is uncertainty about what will happen with the withdrawal agreement (May’s Deal) and what the Brexit strategy of the new Prime Minister will be.
With the threat of No Deal being thrown around again by Tory leadership potentials (despite Parliament voting to reject No Deal on 13th March and also passing the Cooper Letwin Bill on 4th April to legally rule out No Deal), Labour again lead efforts to prevent No Deal.
On 12 June I supported a cross-party effort led by the Labour Party to ensure Parliament is not locked out of the Brexit process. It would have given MPs the opportunity to introduce legislation on 25 June to prevent a new Prime Minister pursuing No Deal without the consent of Parliament.
Disappointingly, this effort was narrowly blocked in the House of Commons, by 309 votes to 298.
Let me be clear that I will not give up on the fight to take No Deal off the table.
Businesses and trade unions have warned of the huge risks of No Deal for the economy and working people. It would open the way to a frenzy of deregulation and a race to the bottom in jobs, rights and protections.
It was worrying (but predictable) to see a recent cabinet note warning that the country is far from prepared for No Deal on 31 October.
There are further procedural mechanisms we can use to prevent No Deal and my colleague Keir Starmer and the Labour team are prepared to keep up the pressure in all ways available.
As we are caught up in the Conservative Leadership race, the focus has been on just how hard the Conservatives can push Brexit and just how undemocratically decisions about our future relationship with the European Union might be made.
Some Tory leadership hopefuls have threatened proroguing Parliament as a way to push through their Brexit plans. Even the suggestion of proroguing Parliament (effectively locking the doors of parliament) in order to take power away from MPs, is totally undemocratic, taking us back to the days of despots and tyranny.
While the Tories are promising all the Brexit unicorns, ultimately the numbers in Westminster aren’t going to change and whoever the next Prime Minister is, they will have to get through Parliament. Labour stands ready for a general election to break this deadlock in Parliament, and stop the chaos of this divided government.