'Brexit must happen': South Shields MP Emma Lewell Buck urges Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn NOT to back 'toxic' second referendum
South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck has urged Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn not to back a ‘toxic’ second referendum on Brexit.
Mrs Lewell-Buck is one of 26 Labour MPs to sign a joint letter to Mr Corbyn, urging him to back a deal to leave the EU before the October 31 deadline.
The MPs made the plea after seeing Labour suffer losses in the recent local and European elections.
The letter says: “In 2017, Labour MPs were elected representing both strongly Leave-voting and strongly-Remain voting constituencies.
“Our Party campaigned on a pledge to respect the outcome of the 2016 referendum and negotiate Brexit. We still believe only this stance gives us the credibility to speak for the whole nation, not the 48% or 52%.
“Our Party was devastated in the local elections in longstanding Labour-held councils. The strength of the Brexit Party in Labour heartland areas in the European elections revealed a much more potent threat than either the Liberals or Greens present.”
Labour held off the challenge of the Brexit Party in the recent Peterborough by-election, but the MPs say the party must listen to voters in its heartlands.
They added: “A commitment to a second referendum would be toxic to our bedrock Labour voters, driving a wedge between them and our Party, jeopardising our role as a party of the whole nation, and giving the populist right an ever greater platform in our heartlands.
“Labour has a vital role to play fighting for a Brexit for the many, not the few. But this is a battle best fought in stage two, after the UK has left.
“Rejecting any Brexit in the hope of securing a perfect deal risks the worst outcome – a No Deal Brexit. This would further alienate many who backed Labour in 2017.
“We urge the Party to put the national interest first, to back a deal before October 31.”
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Mrs Lewell-Buck, who campaigned for Remain, said she backed it on the understanding she would respect the outcome if it returned a Leave result in her constituency.
She added many of her friends and family voted in favour of a departure and that she understood it was her task to act on the call of her residents to get the best for them and for businesses, rather than press on with her own views.
Her view is leaving with a deal would put the area in a stronger position than if the UK exits the EU without an agreement.
She said: "We need to honour the result of the referendum, or how the hell can we expect people to vote for us in future?
"Voters have had their say and we have to respect what the people around us have said.
"People have faith in democracy and for me it's about public service and I see it as my duty to follow what my constituents ask me to do.
"They have given me a clear mandate and I respect what people have told me to do.
"Some have told me they will be alright without a deal, but that is an economic risk, and to have a second referendum simply undermines what people voted for.
"I voted for the EU and I campaigned for remain, but at that time I ask I would respect the outcome of the vote.
"I voted to trigger Article 50, I've said repeatedly we want to get a deal to leave the EU and I feel right now there's a lot of noise from people about a second referendum, which goes against the vote."