Thanks to all of you who have been in touch about the Brexit process, what happens next and whether there should be a public vote on the outcome.
I was a passionate Remainer but I respect and accept the outcome of the June 2016 referendum on our membership of the EU. However, after the mistakes and mishaps of the last two years, I believe we have now to be prepared for the possibility that the Prime Minister may fail to deliver the Brexit deal that our country needs. If she cannot reach a deal with the EU or if Parliament votes down any agreement she brings back, we must keep all options on the table including the possibility of a public vote.
Labour is committed to judging any Brexit deal against the six tests* that were set out by Keir Starmer, the Shadow Brexit Secretary, in March last year. These tests are based on the promises made by the Government about the kind of Brexit deal it would deliver. If the Prime Minister can deliver a sensible deal that meets these tests, I will support it. However, if the deal does not do so, then I will vote against it.
When or if there is a deal for Parliament to vote on, I do not accept that it should be a ‘take it or leave it’ choice between what may be a bad deal or crashing out of the EU without a deal. I believe a no-deal Brexit would be catastrophic – the Government does not have the right to plunge our country into chaos because of its own failure to get a good deal – and I will oppose it.
If any deal is voted down by Parliament, my preference would be for a general election to try to get a Government that can negotiate the best deal for our country. However, if a general election is not possible, all other options for breaking the impasse must be kept open, including a public vote.
*Keir Starmer six tests
• Fair migration system for UK business and communities
• Retaining strong, collaborative relationship with EU
• Protecting national security and tackling cross-border crime
• Delivering for all nations and regions of the UK
• Protecting workers’ rights and employment protections
• Ensuring same benefits currently enjoyed within single market