I campaigned for a very different outcome from the Referendum, and while of course I must respect the decision of the country to leave the EU, in Trafford, we voted by a margin of 58/42% to remain, and so I am deeply disappointed at the result.
Two weeks on from the result, we now have a malfunctioning government, the UK’s credit rating has been downgraded, the pound has fallen to its lowest level in 30 years which will have a knock on effect on the cost of our imported goods and products, including food and petrol, and jobs and living standards will soon be hit hard as a direct result. Xenophobia and racially motivated hate crime have already begun dramatically to rise, Scotland is working towards leaving the UK with Northern Ireland making similar noises, and, following the Prime Minister’s resignation, we face a right-wing Tory government in charge of the exit negotiations. The idea that a right wing Conservative government would fight for us to retain our human rights, our rights at work, to protect our environment, or for investment in the areas of the UK most in need, is laughable.
But clearly, many communities across our country do feel excluded from the political process and from their fair share in the wealth of this country, and this was viciously exploited by the Leave campaign, with the support of much of the rightwing press. Despite our efforts, therefore, the Leave campaign was able to get away with a shameful campaign based on misrepresentations and lies.
Nonetheless, despite my deep disappointment about the outcome of the referendum, we must respect the result. Failing to do so would risk even more voters turning towards UKIP or other ultra right-wing parties. Instead, MPs from all parties need to listen to people’s concerns about job insecurity, immigration, the devastating impact of austerity, and the decline of our public services, and find the compelling solutions that respond to their concerns.
As you are aware, formal negotiations will not begin until the Article 50 exit clause is triggered by the UK and this will be for the next Prime Minister to implement. I’m afraid I can’t speculate on when this might happen as there could be a General Election even before the next Prime Minister is in a position to consider this. But whatever the timetable, and the eventual outcome of our negotiations, it is absolutely essential that we remain on the best terms possible with our closest EU neighbours so that we can negotiate the strongest deal for jobs, for pensions, for trade, and for our public services, and to maintain all possible opportunities for our young people whose futures will be most profoundly affected by the referendum result.
A number of Early Day Motions have been tabled concerning the Referendum result and its implications. Whilst the situation is uncertain and fluid, it seems premature to determine how we should respond when the Government hasn’t even begun to set out its approach to the exit negotiations. Therefore I won’t be signing any EDMs at this time, but I will of course take full personal responsibility for representing the views of my constituents in parliament at every stage as the negotiations proceed and will certainly keep you informed of any developments.