On Wednesday 27th March, MPs took part in a series of so-called “indicative votes” on different Brexit options to find an alternative to Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement and to break the Brexit deadlock. The House of Commons Speaker selected eight options to be voted on:
- I voted against the UK leaving EU without a deal because of the risks and uncertainty this would bring for people’s jobs and livelihoods.
- I abstained on the option for “Common Market 2.0”. I did not want to rule this out, as it would provide better protection for jobs and businesses than the Prime Minister’s plans. However Common Market 2.0 does not guarantee a permanent customs union, which I believe is absolutely essential to manufacturing industries like the 200 food and drink companies across Leicester and Leicestershire that rely on complex ‘just in time’ supply chains.
- I supported the option of ensuring there is, as a minimum, a permanent and comprehensive UK-wide customs union with the EU in any Brexit deal. As well as being vital to protect manufacturing, a customs union would help prevent a hard border in Northern Ireland and protect the Good Friday Agreement.
- I voted against the option of the UK remaining within the European Economic Area and re-joining the European Free Trade Association without membership of a customs union for the reasons outlined above.
- I supported Labour’s alternative Brexit plan to negotiate changes to the withdrawal agreement so that it includes guarantees on workers’ rights, a permanent customs union and close alignment to the Single Market.
- I voted in favour of holding a confirmatory public vote on whatever Brexit deal is eventually agreed by Parliament. The reality of Brexit and what is being offered today is very different from what was promised during the 2016 referendum, so I think it is right to give the public the final say on whether they want to go ahead or stick with the deal we currently have with the EU.
- I would much rather the final decision about where we go next rests with the public than with politicians. However, I am very concerned about the impact a no deal Brexit would have so I supported an option that would mean in the terrible event Parliament has still not agreed a withdrawal agreement with just two days to go until the UK is due to leave the EU, MPs should be asked to approve ‘no deal’ and if they do not, ensure the Government gives notice to revoke the Article 50 process to prevent us from crashing out without a deal.
- I opposed the option for “Contingent reciprocal arrangements”. This is what some people call a “managed no deal Brexit”. I think this is completely unrealistic and I cannot put my constituents’ jobs and livelihoods at risk with such a proposal.