There’s no understating the significance of recent events in Westminster.
I have been clear since the day I was elected that I respect the decision made by the people of Barnsley and the country in 2016.
We voted to leave the European Union, and I continue to support that end.
Since that vote, Parliament has been locked in paralysis attempting to navigate its way through a complex issue with so much at stake.
But we can’t keep on dragging out our exit; the decision was made, and we have to leave.
That’s why this week, working alongside colleagues like Dan Jarvis and others from across the parties, I successfully sponsored an amendment to the Bill on ‘no deal’ that would mean any proposed extension could only be implemented to leave with a deal, not as a means to keeping us in the EU indefinitely or undermining the 2016 referendum result.
This amendment makes sure we work together to move forward and get on with an orderly and reliable exit from the EU, and we get this issue sorted soon.
However, under the new Prime Minister we have seen a reckless approach that threatens jobs, livelihoods, and even the health and security of people in Barnsley.
Leaving without a deal, at all costs, has been widely condemned as an unnecessary risk across the board.
The Government’s own analysis on the potential impacts of leaving without a deal were staggering.
Problems with the supply of vital medicines, job losses, decreases in food choice and an increase in price, rises in public disorder and community tension were all flagged amongst other issues.
Boris Johnson and his millionaire cronies may have no problem taking those risks with no deal, but we know full well it won’t be him affected afterwards.
Because most of all, the analysis outlined those already vulnerable and struggling in towns like ours are most at risk.
Whilst Boris may, I am simply not willing to take these risks for my constituents.
And they are the findings of independent experts and specialists in a range of fields.
They are not simply ‘project fear’, and to dismiss them as such is irresponsible and blind to the warnings and evidence in front of us.
I respect the decision to leave the EU, but we simply cannot do so in a way that poses such a needless threat to people in our community.
What’s more, to leave without a deal won’t be the end to this saga.
On the contrary, exiting in this way will fire the starting gun on more negotiations, more discussions, more discontent and confrontation, and more Brexit-related issues for years – and possibly decades – to come.
But in the meantime, we have a Prime Minister attempting to shut down Parliament, exclude elected representatives, and attack the very principles that hold our democratic system together.
Instead, he should be doing everything he can to ensure a prompt exit in a way that does not pose a risk to people in Barnsley and brings the country back together.
For me, that means leaving with a deal that satisfies everyone.
That means a deal that respects the result, takes back control and formally removes us from the mechanisms of the EU, but also maintains the employment rights, consumer protections, and environmental safeguards that people depend on, and protects our vital public services from a dodgy trade deal with the likes of Donald Trump.
With our community and country divided, to chase either remain or no deal risks driving an irreparable schism through society.
I’m ready and waiting to back a deal that prevents this, and I want to get this episode over and done with as much as anybody.
Because then, and only then, can we really start addressing the issues that affect people’s day to day lives; the devastating damage done to our NHS, local policing, children and early years’ services, and the other public services that have been devastated by a near-decade of austerity under the Tories.