I want to start by saying that I know that many people are hugely frustrated with the Brexit process and how this Government has handled our exit from the European Union (EU).
It has been clear for many months now that the Prime Minister's deal does not have the support of Parliament and it has been rejected on multiple occasions. As I am sure you will be aware, I have been voting against the Prime Minister's deal as I believe it is deeply flawed. It will not protect jobs, workplace rights or environmental standards, and it will not ensure frictionless trade for British businesses, something hugely important to the manufacturing industry in our region of the North East.
You can also see how I voted in the indicative votes process here: http://www.sharonhodgson.org/brexit_update_april5th
Talks are now taking place between the Labour Party and the Government to try and find a solution to this ongoing impasse. This is something that the Government should have done years ago, and their failure to reach out across the political spectrum is in part why we find ourselves where we do now. These talks are covering customs, services, workers’ rights, environmental protections, entrenchment of commitments, a confirmatory public vote, and the Withdrawal Agreement Bill.
In recent days, the Prime Minister has agreed a further extension to the Brexit process. Although the new deadline is now the 31st of October 2019, there is still a possibility of leaving before then if Parliament can agree on a deal. I appreciate that for many people, the fact that we are still in the EU almost 3 years after voting to leave it will be concerning, particularly if we do end up taking part in the European Elections.
Although this situation is not ideal, it is in my view preferable to leaving either with the Prime Minister’s bad deal, or crashing out with ‘No-Deal’. It is incumbent on the Government now to drop their red lines and compromise to find a way forward that people can unite around.
There remains a huge variety of opinions on Brexit and what should happen next. I want to make it clear that I will always do what I think is in the best interests of my constituents, and would consider all options (including a Public Vote) to ensure that we do not end up leaving the EU in a way in which would damage livelihoods, workers’ rights, environmental protections, or jobs.
People feel passionately about this issue, and I empathise with the Brexit fatigue that many people are no doubt experiencing. I want to assure you that despite Brexit dominating the news, I am continuing to campaign on important local and national issues. Whether it’s opposing cuts to Public Health Funding and tackling the obesity crisis or bringing the Metro to Washington and opposing the new Waste Incinerator.