On Monday, we secured indicative votes for MPs – the aim being to break the Brexit impasse. Yesterday, we voted on eight options.
I voted first and foremost to support the Beckett amendment, which would guarantee the people a final say on Brexit with the option to remain in the EU. I am firm in my view that this is the best (and perhaps the only) way out of the Brexit mess. I was also one of the very few MPs to support revoking Article 50. I believe that this must be used as a last resort to avoid a No Deal Brexit. The Cherry Amendment was worded with this exact intention calling a vote the day before the leave date and to set the revocation of Article 50 as the default option, to be used if the House of Commons couldn’t positively vote for any option.
I find it regrettable that motions to do with process (how we get to a position) became mixed with outcome (what relationship we have with the EU). I would have preferred a single motion just saying that Parliament wished to remain rather than two motions; one on a Public Vote and another to revoke Article 50 which both give a process to stay in the EU. My view has always been it is up to you, the electorate, to have the final say. This is consistent with my pledges at the last General Election and in my time as an MP since then.
There were a number of Soft Brexit options available. I supported three of these, to give Parliament the widest possible range of options which we could hold a second referendum on. Let me be clear, I would support a referendum over and above any of the soft Brexit option. I know that any form of Brexit will leave us worse off and I believe the British people should have the final say over any Brexit Deal. We want a second referendum, but in politics – as in life -we do not always get what we want. We must ask ourselves what – if all else fails – we would be willing to live with. For me, jobs, rights and environmental protections must be protected in the face of a No Deal Brexit.
I voted passionately against all the hard Brexit options on the table. I will not stand by and allow a Brexit which hurts my constituents and my country. The Conservatives may be happy to chop and change their mind depending on the status of the Prime Minister but I am certainly not.
The Beckett Amendment garnered the highest number of votes with 268 votes and a further 74 abstentions. I am working with colleagues across the House to build a majority for a people’s vote, when we next have indicative votes and/or when the Government tables the Withdrawal Agreement. Please know that I am working extremely hard to give you the final say on our status in Europe.
Now is the time for clear minds and focus. I will vote against the third meaningful vote if it is to be tabled tomorrow. I will then move onto Monday with the clear aim of giving you the final say on Brexit.