Next week’s Elections are a test of practical politics

After months of negotiations, deals and votes it’s not surprising that most people’s attitude to Brexit is boredom.

To be fair, the European Union was never designed for entertainment purposes.  An agreement for free trade on the condition that all countries keep to mutually-agreed rules on standards, protections, rights and movement of people is hardly the recipe for a good read.

By working together, we achieve more than we can alone, is as true of trade as it is of a football team.  That’s why all economic forecasts show that our economy will suffer and jobs will be lost by leaving the EU.

But having had a vote to leave the EU, the Labour Party have sought a deal that enables us to do so with the minimum of damage to our economy.

We’ve engaged in talks with the Conservative Party, although hampered by the Prime Minister’s ‘Red Lines’ that made a constructive deal impossible from the start.

Any sort of deal will involve compromise – we may no longer be bound by European regulations (although we would be bound by World Trade Organisation rules) – but our trade would suffer through both tariffs and the additional bureaucracy of trading with our nearest neighbours and largest trading partners.

These tedious details are not the sort discussed in the 2016 referendum, and or in the European election campaign from parties advocating leaving the EU without a deal.

But they are the reality that will affect us all – not just trade, and jobs in High Peak, but how much we can invest in our public services and tackling poverty – both in desperate need after 9 years of austerity.

Doing the best deal we can, and confirming it’s what people still want is the most logical way forward.

That’s why I – along with Labour’s candidates for the European election in the East Midlands and a majority of my Labour backbench colleagues in Parliament – have called for any deal passed by Parliament to be subject to a public vote.

As Labour’s manifesto for the European Union states, “If the government is confident that it has negotiated a deal that benefits our economy and our communities then they should not be afraid to put that deal to the public.”

I would add that if the government aren’t confident their deal is beneficial, there’s even more reason to let people decide on it!

Ever since David Cameron’s decision to hold the referendum on our EU membership, there has been no ‘good’ solution.

For me, politics is about making the best of things for the most people.  It’s hardly a rousing battle cry, but it’s practical, down to earth policies, and I hope that’s what most sensible people will vote for.