On Monday, the Prime Minister and Government pulled Parliament’s meaningful vote on the final Brexit deal, less than an hour after insisting publicly that it would be going ahead. The Government still haven’t provided an alternative future date for MPs to decide whether to accept or reject the PM’s damaging deal.
The PM said herself that the decision to pull the vote was based on the fact that she wouldn’t win. The Government also prevented the Commons even having a vote on whether the “meaningful” vote should go ahead. The Speaker said it would be “infinitely preferable” if MPs were given a chance to vote on it. It’s been clear for quite some time that this Tory Government and the PM hold the Commons in complete disregard, something that the majority of MPs agree on given that they voted that the Government was in contempt of Parliament last week. That finding has made no difference to the attitude of the Tories as they’ve continued to do whatever they want, pulling vitally important votes at the last minute this week.
The Government is now in complete chaos, the Prime Minister has lost the little support she had in her own party, and we’re hurtling toward a no-deal Brexit with dire consequences that no one voted for in the referendum. It’s clear to me that whether my constituents voted leave or remain two years ago they did not vote to make people in Liverpool poorer. Liverpool will be hard hit if this chaotic Government can’t organise themselves to avoid a hard Brexit. The Government’s own estimates reveal that a no-deal Brexit will knock more than 7.5% off our GDP in the North West. 22% of people in work in Garston & Halewood work in manufacturing industry and it is their jobs that are most at risk. For others it will mean lower wages, the loss of investment vital to their local area. Less money in peoples’ pockets means local businesses will struggle.
After 10 years of Lib Dem/Tory austerity, and 60% of cuts to Liverpool City Council and Knowsley Borough Council budgets, we cannot afford this Brexit catastrophe. I did not come into politics to vote to make my constituents poorer.
New research shows growing support across the entire UK for both remaining in the EU and a “Peoples Vote” on the final deal. Here in Garston & Halewood it shows that since the referendum in June 2016 support for remain has increased from 52% to 64%. Support for a final say on the deal is even higher at 72% meaning even some of my constituents who voted leave now want another vote. The evidence is clear, now that people have all the facts on Brexit they are rightly changing their minds.
I recently carried out my own survey asking constituents and Labour Party members for their views on the current state of Brexit and the response has been overwhelming. 80% said they want to remain in the EU, 72% want Brexit to be stopped altogether and a massive 85% said they backed a “Peoples Vote” to give the public their say on the final deal. Many people also left comments calling for a general election at the earliest opportunity. They want rid of this chaotic, self-centred, failing Tory Government, and I agree with them.
With the Tories in turmoil, wasting the precious time we have left on infighting, it’s difficult to see how this Brexit mess can be resolved. After winning a vote of no confidence from her own MPs this week, and with her weak position as their leader fully exposed, Theresa May immediately returned to Brussels in an attempt to salvage her so called deal. But it’s looking far from promising.
However, Labour Party policy agreed at conference allows for the option of a people’s vote that might avoid a hard Brexit if we cannot get an early election. It states that “if we cannot get a general election Labour must support all options remaining on the table, including campaigning for a public vote”.
My constituents and local party members have made it clear that a vote is what they want. If we cannot get a General Election (and that will require us to win a vote of no confidence in this Government in the commons) we must consider committing to a People’s Vote.