Thank you for contacting me recently about Brexit.
As you may be aware I voted to trigger Article 50 to start Brexit negotiations following the result of the referendum.
I am deeply disappointed that almost 3 years later the Prime Minister has failed to secure a deal which will ensure frictionless trade thereby protecting jobs in manufacturing and farming which are especially important in this constituency. I also believe that while Theresa May’s deal may buy a few months of stability, it effectively kicks all the difficult decisions about our relationship with Europe down the road. It will mean years ahead of wrangling which will not be good for business or jobs.
The job of an MP is to use their judgement to do what they think is right for their constituency and it is not possible to please everyone. I appreciate that some people want a no deal Brexit regardless and have told me that they believe widespread job losses, watering down of employment rights by the Tories and even a breakdown of the peace process in Northern Ireland are “a price worth paying”. However I cannot share this view and nor do the majority of local people who have contacted me asking me to vote against the Prime Minister’s deal as it stands.
I believe a No Deal Brexit in particular would be catastrophic and the Government does not have the right to plunge our country into chaos because of its own failure to get a good deal. I have spoken to manufacturers in this constituency and no deal or the government’s current deal would result in thousands of jobs losses locally, I have a responsibility to do my best to ensure that doesn’t happen.
I therefore supported the motion to extend Article 50 until June to give the Prime Minister more time to secure a better deal. Instead of ploughing on with the same rejected deal the Prime Minister would be more effective if she gave Parliament time to debate and vote on all the options to deliver a Brexit which protects jobs, environmental standards and workplace rights. With Ken Clarke I proposed an amendment to do this.
Thank you once again for writing to me and for sharing your views.
Member of Parliament for Bishop Auckland Constituency & Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs
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