I’d like to assure all my constituents that Brexit continues to be my top priority. What happens in the next few months will have far-reaching consequences for decades to come, and the government needs to be serious about securing the best deal possible for our country. The following is an update on my current position on these issues and the activities I have been undertaking on behalf of my constituents.
High Court decision about the requirement for Parliament to have a vote on Article 50
I am pleased about the High Court’s decision. I think it is quite extraordinary that the Leave campaigners, having made so much of the sovereignty of Parliament, are now reacting against this decision.
The government needs a coherent plan for exiting the EU, involving proper parliamentary scrutiny, before Article 50 is triggered
As I stated to the Bristol Post, my position is that the government’s plan for Brexit is non-existent; the referendum happened only because of a Prime Minister gambling the country’s future for the sake of a problem with some of his backbenchers; and that having caused the problem, he has now walked away, leaving chaos. I believe that triggering Article 50 without a coherent plan would be an irresponsible gamble with the country’s future.
Local industries, universities, some small and medium-sized enterprises, the tech and creative industries, the Aerospace sector and the health sector have all described potentially very damaging impacts of pulling out of the Single European Market. There are other options – such as the Norwegian option – for remaining in the Single European Market, other than full membership of the European Union, but at the moment the government isn’t saying anything about these possibilities.
The vote for Brexit has already damaged our economy and global standing. The government needs to end the uncertainty and involve Parliament in the terms and process of exit. These decisions require genuine democratic accountability in order to ensure that the best possible deal can be secured. Labour will stand up for jobs, workers’ rights, environmental protections, education and research, and that means the fullest possible access to the Single Market.
What I am doing on your behalf
Speaking in debates in Parliament: the Opposition Day debate on 12 October was on the UK leaving the European Union and you can see what I said here. You can also read what I said in the debate about a second referendum, on 5 September 2016.
Latest written questions I have put to government on matters relating to the EU: I am putting down regular questions to ministers on aspects of the EU.
Latest oral questions I have put to government on matters relating to the EU: I am also bidding for oral questions regularly – these are chosen by ballot, whereas I can put in written questions any time. My first question to Prime Minister’s Questions was in September on the impact of Brexit on University research funding. I’ve also asked questions of the Secretary of State for International Trade and the Minister of State for International Trade.
Briefings: I am participating in regular Parliamentary briefings from various trade and international relations experts, diplomats from other countries and colleagues across all parties. I am also reading House of Commons library briefings and information from other sources.
Regular public meetings to discuss the EU process: I am holding regular meetings, and participating in others. My next public meeting will be on 8 December.
Meetings with key individuals and organisations about the EU: I am participating in briefings in parliament and initiating or responding to requests for meetings in the constituency in order to ensure that I am as well informed as possible about the current and potential impact of the UK leaving the EU. In the last month I have met with: University of Bristol, representatives of the tech industries in Bristol, creative sector organisations, Universities UK, Aerospace sector representatives, voluntary organisations, the Mayor, and members of the public.
Working with campaigning organisations in Bristol on this: I am working with Bristol representatives of various campaigning organisations including ‘The 3 Million’ and ‘Bristol for Europe’.
Articles about the EU: You can read my article on the benefits of free movement of people, for Policy Network. I will continue to write regularly on the potential impact of UK leaving the EU.