Emma Lewell-Buck: Labour’s promise to offer a credible leave deal is vital
This week we are back in Parliament with a Queen’s Speech/ Tory Manifesto launch of empty, undeliverable promises and more Brexit debates.
We will shortly find out if the Prime Minister has been able to reach agreement with the European Union 27 on the initial terms of our exit from the European Union. So far, as has been the case in previous Brexit debates, people have had a lot to say about a deal that they not seen the details of. So polarised is the debate, that consensus, pragmatism and informed reasoning have been replaced by angry slogans and hollow soundbites.
As I have always done, I will reserve judgement until the deal is before me. The situation has reached a critical juncture where this intransigence on all sides is risking ‘no deal’. Prior to, during and since the referendum, I have reached out, listened and sought your views as constituents. Moreover, the debates I have held in South Shields have been infinitely more sensible than most debates in Parliament.
The overwhelming majority of constituents I have engaged with here remain resolute in their wish to leave the EU. For my part, I have tried to honour that wish by seeking a deal that works for us, avoids ‘no deal’ and by voting for an extension to Article 50 only on the basis that the extension would be with the purpose of getting a deal - not prolonging endless, fruitless debates that aren’t breaking the deadlock. I have voted repeatedly for Labours’ alternatives to safeguard jobs, workplace rights, environmental standards, trading arrangements and to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland. I have voted to secure legislative ‘locks’ so that Parliament has a say in negotiations and trade deals going forward, which is where the debate and decisions are destined to be far trickier.
I have also voted against a second referendum and General Election because a General Election in this environment would be a de facto second referendum. I remain deeply concerned that extremists would use an election to capitalise on the already deep divisions in our country and the waning faith that people have in our democracy. However, it may be that the only way to end the impasse is a General Election. That is why Labour’s promise to offer a credible leave deal is important. It acknowledges the strength of feeling in communities such as ours and honours the referendum result. In these circumstances I will campaign for Labour’s credible leave deal, because the future of our country, in or out of the EU, can and will only be safeguarded via a Labour Government.
We are living in unprecedented times. As you read this, the debate may have moved again into new territory but I want to assure you that, as I have throughout my time in Parliament, I will always put South Shields first and I am always willing to meet with constituents to discuss this or other issues. Please do get in touch.