Next week we are set to finally vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal in Parliament – a serious decision that I have taken time over the past couple of months to consider.
As a community facing a fragile economic and social landscape, this will impact our constituency more than most. Therefore, as I said in my speech yesterday, I considered two key questions when deciding whether I could support this deal for our constituency:
Does it respect the referendum two years ago when our constituency voted to leave?
But also, does it deliver on the message that was sent and provide a blueprint for the economic and social transformation that we need to let Leigh thrive again?
Looking through this botched deal I have however concluded that this offer will fail to provide that foundation that we urgently need to succeed, it will fail to provide the inclusive prosperity across the country that we need, and with our local economy already starting at a disadvantage, this deal will also fail to even protect the existing jobs and businesses that we have in the constituency.
Importantly this deal also does not guarantee our hard-fought workers’ rights and protections, leaving a future Tory government able to lower our rights and standards.
As a Labour MP, I could never support such a proposal without those legal guarantees.
Ultimately, this offer is a blind gamble, a hope that we might in the future develop a relationship with the European Union that works for us. But our community is in desperate need of transformative investment, there is no way I could support such a gamble because if the last 10 years has taught us in Leigh anything, it is that in times of struggle, our post-industrial towns are hit first. I could never risk that on our community again.
It really did not have to be this way. We have been plunged into a Brexit crisis manufactured by the Tory party who have spent 2 years squabbling amongst themselves instead of negotiating in seriousness with Brussels.
Instead of seeking to reunite our country, work across the Commons and deliver a Brexit deal in the interests of the many, the Tories have only deepened divisions and driven us to the brink of a reckless and damaging no-deal because of their failure.
Therefore, one thing is seemingly uniting our constituency from the many conversations I am having – we are all calling out this negotiation for the failure that it is.
It is an unacceptable deal for our country.
We have to reject this blindfold Brexit gamble that the Prime Minister has brought back and agree that we must, and certainly can, do far better than this to keep our country strong and safe whilst helping communities such as ours to thrive into the future.