Brexit Update

This is a difficult time for our country. The referendum of 2016 caused a great deal of hurt, and the negotiation process that we have been engaged in ever since Article 50 was invoked has been painful. Now those negotiations have concluded, and Theresa May has not delivered a good deal for Britain. It is clearer now than ever before that there was never a deal possible that would improve on the one we have already within the EU. Many people said at the time that withdrawing from the biggest market in the world could only bring dis-benefits. Doing so via the deal Mrs May is offering in this way would be disastrous, as would withdrawing with no deal at all.

We should not be fooled by the Prime Minister’s attempts to sell her deal to the British people as a good compromise – this is a tactic designed only to keep her Government in power. Leavers and remainers alike are at least united in their dislike of the outcome of the negotiations. The deal on the table could very well chain us to Brussels in perpetuity without any say in how we are governed and would leave us with a hefty divorce bill to settle – all without any of the promised assurances of frictionless trade, or the huge benefits of security cooperation and a strong political alliance across Europe. It is a poor offering indeed. It stands to reason therefore that I will not support it when it is brought before Parliament on the 11th December.

The question then is what should happen after Parliament have considered the deal in the ‘Meaningful Vote’ – a vote that Labour colleagues and campaigners fought so hard to secure, and which this Government did not want MPs to have. It is highly likely that Theresa May’s deal will be rejected by MPs –  and rightly so because we shouldn’t accept a bad deal because it’s the only deal on offer or because we’re worn down with the process. But we do need a plan for what happens next.

Many people have written to me urging me to support a people’s vote. A second referendum with an option to remain is one possible future option and is something I would support if the conditions were right. But I believe we need to have a very clear idea about exactly what we would ask in the event that this were possible, and we need a far greater degree of certainty than we currently have about the possible outcome of such a vote. Even the Tory Chancellor admits that Britain’s economy would shrink under any Brexit scenario. I am wary of offering my full support to any course of action that could result in a more decisive ‘leave’ mandate, because there is no leave option available at this time that would not make Britain poorer.

So while a people’s vote should not be dismissed, we should first work to safeguard Britain against a catastrophic no deal Brexit.

Alongside colleagues, I will support Labour’s Amendment to the Meaningful Vote. I shall reject Theresa May’s Brexit deal because it fails to protect jobs and living standards, workers’ rights and environmental standards and because it does not provide sufficient guarantees on national security. The amendment strongly opposes crashing out of the UK without a deal, and that must be the first priority.

Labour believe that Theresa May’s government have failed on Brexit, and that the British people should have the opportunity now to make a choice. A choice between a Tory Government who have pursued a pointless austerity agenda to devastating effect – an agenda that has decimated public services, starved our NHS, police, local government and schools of cash, and impoverished families, and now promises to shrink our economy and make us even poorer – Or a Labour Government who would begin work immediately to repair that damage and crucially would reject any Brexit scenario that would leave the UK worse off. I understand my Party’s position on this. Not to aspire to be a party in government at this time of national crisis would be to shirk responsibility. However, the Fixed Term Parliament’s Act does present big obstacle. A General Election might not happen and if it is decisively rejected, then other democratic routes to testing the better informed will of the people should be the next step.

This is a very uncertain time and there are no ideal solutions that I can see. I can assure you that I will do all I can to ensure that I represent the views of all of my constituents in the coming weeks – not an easy task in a constituency where opinion on this issue is so divided.

I hope to eventually be able to support an outcome that will secure jobs, growth and trade, keep us safe and guarantee prosperous futures for our families, our children and our grandchildren.

3 thoughts on “Brexit Update

  1. I cannot believe that you purport to support your constituents and yet are clearly, as are most Labour MPs, using the situation for party political purposes in an attempt to force a general election. This demonstrates both a lack of respect for the referendum (which was incidentally not the result I voted for) and a lack of forward thinking for the chaos and economic damage that the result of a parliamentary NO vote would bring. The current deal is not perfect and never could be, whichever party was in power, but it does not, as you suggest, give away all our rights. I urge you not to play politics with the vote and to help to move the situation forward in a constructive and responsible manner.

  2. Dear Mr Yasin

    At the last General Election, I voted for Labour for the first time in my life. I voted for Mohammad Yasin. It was a democratic act and because more people voted for you, rather than the other candidates, you were elected as the MP for Bedford. That’s democracy in action.

    What wouldn’t have been democracy is if the people who didn’t vote for you, decided to campaign for a second vote in the hope that they could get a different result – a different MP!

    51.8% of Bedfordians voted to leave the EU. That was the result of a democratic process – just like the one that elected you as the MP for Bedford.

    Now, I have just read on your web-site that you would support a second referendum.

    Can you see the ironry here, Mr Yasin?

    The people of Bedford have already had a ‘People’s Vote’ and the majority voted to leave the EU. So why would you even contemplate undermining Democracy and the wishes of the people of Bedford?

    As an MP, you are supposed to be our representative, espousing the views of the majority. If you are no longer prepared to represent our views, then maybe it’s time for you to resign.

    Please remember that 51.8% will be voting in the next General Election and will have long memories.

    Represent the views of the majority!

  3. Dear Mr Yasin,

    It is frequently reported that our police have to cope with not only decreasing resources but an ever increasing demand on these owing rising crime.

    With this in mind it would surely be intolerable if they had to contend with mass civil unrest in the near future.

    Such events have been warned about in the event of any second European referendum, and I urge you not to give your support to such a process.

    You were, in my opinion wisely, not convinced of the merits of a ‘People’s vote’ when you last wrote at length about the matter some months ago. (30 Nov.) You also mentioned the difficulties and dis-benefits of the various EU exit scenarios.

    In my view, nothing could cause greater discord, enmity, and fracture among people than another such poll in the near future. The dis-benefits might be on a scale past all reckoning by comparison with other outcomes, and could render irrelevant the result of the vote.

    If there were any loss, damage, or personal injury resulting from civil disturbances during the campaign, would those who originated the poll take responsibility? I think not.

    Please settle the issue of Europe in the House of Commons, not the High Street.

    Kind regards

    Andrew Gifford

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