Brexit update – 26 February 2019

Having insisted on pursuing a variation of her own Brexit deal for a further four weeks, and thwarted Parliament from having any say on the matter, the Prime Minister is unable to avoid votes this week and I’m writing to set out my position.

In the last four weeks we’ve seen major manufacturers and financial services, employing thousands of people in good jobs, announce they are leaving the UK, with investment plans put on hold or abandoned.

The Prime Minister’s insistence on her deal or no deal, in spite of all the evidence, is harming our economy now and its effects will be felt for years to come.

Neither of the two options is good for Britain:

  • Theresa May’s ‘deal’ is simply a stop-gap until the end of next year, leaving our future relationship with the EU up in the air, to be negotiated after we have left, from a position of isolation and weakness. It would mean years of future wrangling over our permanent deal with the EU.
  • Leaving the EU without a deal, would put the UK in the position of being the only country in the world to trade solely on WTO terms. We would be unable to use the favourable EU terms we currently do and have to negotiate our own terms, but starting with very high tariffs, per the BBC’s Fact Check:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-41859691

Businesses in High Peak have been very clear to me that they need the UK to be part of a Customs Union with the EU.  They set out their concerns about options with no Customs Union in the second Business Brexit Summit I held.  The notes are on my website here:

https://ruthforhighpeak.co.uk/brexit/high-peak-business-brexit-summit-with-ruth-george-mp-and-the-university-of-derby-23rd-november-2018/

I have therefore always sought to support a Brexit deal including access to a Customs Union, as Labour set out in the manifesto on which I stood for election.

The European Union is by far our largest trading partner and we need to secure a good deal with them so I am supporting Yvette Cooper’s amendment to give time to negotiate a better deal and Labour’s amendment to instruct the government to include the provisions that businesses in High Peak have called for to help protect their trade and local jobs:

– A permanent Customs Union

– Close alignment with the Single Market

– Ongoing alignment on rights at work and environmental and consumer protections

– Access to the European Arrest Warrant and vital shared databases on criminals and terrorist suspects

If that amendment is not passed, I will support an amendment for a public vote on a deal that can be passed by Parliament.

We need to be sure that the deal we can achieve is supported by a majority of people.

Then we can move on, which everyone wants and have the best chance of coming together as a country, whichever path is decided on.

Many people tell me they are ‘bored of Brexit’ and I can quite understand that feeling.  But both the Prime Minister’s deal and leaving with No Deal would leave us with years more of wrangling over trade deals.

I hope that a few more weeks will enable us to find a more constructive and permanent way forward and that is what I am supporting.