Due to the thousands of emails my office is receiving regarding recent Brexit developments, it has become increasingly difficult to answer each and every query, question or statement sent to my office with a personalised, direct response. The status of negotiations is changing hour-by-hour which means that as soon as a written update is issued it can be out of date on the very same day it was written. I have therefore decided to issue the following statement, informing constituents about my general views on Brexit and the position I intend to take in the upcoming Parliamentary votes. Thank you for your understanding and patience during the busy and concerning time.
On Wednesday 20th March the 1000 day anniversary of the Brexit vote was marked by a PMQ’s and a statement in front of Number 10 that once again saw our Prime Minister refusing to face up to her disastrous handling of the negotiations. With our originally scheduled exit date now passed, all the Prime Minister has to offer is her bungled deal that has emphatically been rejected by Parliament three times and seen an intervention by the speaker of the house. Parliament continues to tie itself in knots over Brexit as our country continues to fall to pieces under a Tory government that is spectacularly failing domestically as well. When Wansbeck voted to leave the EU in 2016 it didn’t create the crisis in our NHS. It didn’t cause our local high schools to fall into special measures or per-pupil spending to plummet. It hasn’t caused the issues with sprawling housing developments outstripping infrastructure investment or private landlords letting areas in the hearts of our communities deteriorate. And it certainly didn’t cause the heavy industry that the area was built upon to disappear. Those who shriek that only reversing the result of the referendum will solve our problems are simply living in cloud cuckoo land. At the same time, I believe that a no-deal Brexit is at best a leap into the dark and that is why I voted to take it off the table. I am simply not prepared to gamble with the livelihoods of my constituents whichever way they voted. Theresa May has failed to deliver a good deal for our country through her own pig-headedness and inflexibility. She continues to blame everybody but herself for the mess we’re in.
The situation we now find ourselves in is a crisis made in Downing Street by a Prime Minister who has refused to listen to anyone and refused to try to build any kind of consensus across the house. We need to uphold democracy and follow through on the will expressed by the referendum. The short pause in the proceedings that now looks likely should be used to negotiate an exit that restores our sovereignty, protects jobs and our rights. But without a Labour government that invests in our people, communities and infrastructure we are destined to remain the forgotten corner of the country.
Ian Lavery MP
Member of Parliament for Wansbeck
Chair of the Labour Party