"Brexit must be done properly" local MPs say

Date published: 21 October 2019

Brexit 'must be done properly', local MPs Tony Lloyd and Liz McInnes have said, speaking after MPs supported a motion to withhold approval for Boris Johnson's Brexit deal on Saturday (19 October).

The Prime Minster tried to pass a meaningful yes/no vote on his Brexit deal on Saturday (19 October), but Parliament passed an amendment withholding support until full legislation on the withdrawal has been examined. The government lost by just 16 votes, by 322 to 306.

As a result, the Prime Minister was then forced to send a letter asking the EU for a three-month extension to the Brexit date – although he did not sign it.

According to The Guardian, the European Commission has confirmed that it is considering the extension.

Another meaningful vote on the deal is due to be held on Monday, 21 October.

Mr Lloyd, MP for Rochdale, said: “On Saturday, the House of Commons clearly voted to stop a No-deal crash out from the European Union.

“Labour urged Prime Minister Johnson to comply with the law and send a letter requesting an extension. That letter, although unsigned, was sent along with a note which stated he doesn't want an extension.

“Prime Minister Johnson is not above the law, and if he wishes to 'Get Brexit done' it should be done properly.

“The last three years since the referendum have been wasted with Government infighting, incompetence and chaos.

“Prime Minister Johnson and Nigel Farage both campaigned on the basis that doing a deal with the EU would be straightforward and simple. None of them campaigned on the basis of a dangerous No-deal Brexit which would risk shortages of food and medicines, which would jeopardise towns like Rochdale’s export industry and jobs.

“Prime Minister Johnson's deal is an even worse deal than Theresa May’s. Nobody voted to lose workers' rights, open up our NHS to a takeover by US private corporations, put food safety at risk, or even cut environmental standards. This ‘sell-out deal’ won’t bring the country together.

“Democracy is an ongoing process; it is not a one-off event. It is therefore not unreasonable to give the people the final say in a public vote now that we know more about the deal that has been presented to us.”


The Union flag next to the EU flag
Boris Johnson has worked towards a deal for the UK ahead of an extended deadline of 31 October


Ms McInnes said: “With a vote of 322 to 306 In favour of the Letwin amendment, Parliament clearly declined on Saturday to back Prime Minister Johnson’s deal and clearly voted to stop a no deal crash out from the European Union.

“Prime Minister Johnson has complied with the law and sent a letter requesting an extension. However, in a display of childish petulance he has declined to sign the letter and has enclosed another one from himself saying we don’t want an extension.

“The Prime Minister of the UK is not above the law and I am sure that his petulant and unstatesmanlike behaviour will be addressed.

“To Prime Minister Johnson’s slogan “Let’s get Brexit done” I would add just one word –‘properly’.

“Our exit from the EU represents a hugely important constitutional change and it cannot be rushed simply because certain politicians find that to be expedient. Nor can it be rushed because people are bored and fatigued with the debate. The people of the UK deserve better than a bad deal accepted out of boredom. We can’t allow impatience to determine such a major change.

“Nobody voted in the 2016 referendum to make themselves poorer and I and the Labour Party are not prepared to sell out the communities we represent by accepting a deal which contains no protections for workers’ rights and no environmental protections. We’re not prepared to accept a deal that paves the way for a ‘sell-off’ of our NHS.

“We all know a lot more about our relationship with the EU since the 2016 referendum and because of this the Labour Party is supporting a referendum on any deal - whether that is one negotiated by this current government, or one arrived at by a Labour government following a general election. The UK has not been preserved in aspic since 2016, minds have changed and young people who stand to be affected most by this have become eligible to vote.

“Once we have the terms of a deal, it must be put to the people. When I was a union rep, at the finish of negotiations, whatever deal we had arrived at was put back to the members for their approval or otherwise, with recommendations from the trade union. In a similar way, I can see no good reason why the people of the UK should be denied the chance to say whether they agree or not on the terms under which we leave the EU.

“In the national interest, the people must have the final say.”

The initial referendum on 23 June 2016 asking if the UK should leave the EU or remain saw more than 33.5 million votes cast across the UK with 51.89% of voters opting to leave. Locally, 60% of Rochdale voters opted to leave.

Brexit has since been delayed whilst former Prime Minister Theresa May and her successor, Boris Johnson, have worked towards a deal for the UK ahead of an extended deadline of 31 October.

MPs previously rejected Mrs May’s withdrawal agreement twice, and rejected leaving the EU without a deal.

Originally scheduled to leave on 29 March 2019, a six-month extension was granted to the UK by the EU.

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