COLUMN: Brexit

The following appeared as my column in the Barnsley Chronicle on 7th December:

Next week, MPs vote on the Government’s proposed deal on our exit from the European Union.

I know this is one of the most important decisions I will make in Parliament.

It could make the difference between maintaining rights and protections in our workplaces and everyday lives, or risking these being abandoned for those who need them most.

It will determine whether local businesses can continue trading with suppliers and customers in the rest of Europe, or face rising costs and damaging uncertainty.

And it will determine how we implement what people here in Barnsley voted for.

Because, to be clear, the decision to leave the European Union is settled: in 2016 Barnsley and the UK as a whole voted for that.

I know it won’t please everyone, but I firmly believe that decision must be respected.

That’s why, for me, the debate is not about whether we leave the European Union, but how.

In my role as a Member of Parliament, I’m pushing for a Brexit deal that works for people here in Barnsley.

Unfortunately, the deal currently on the table just doesn’t do that. But as MPs, we have a lot of work to do to find a deal that does. 

So it is absolutely vital that the people I represent have the chance to raise their views on the remaining options with me.

That’s why I’ve canvassed the opinions of local businesses to understand the effect on them, their customers and staff.

And it’s why I’m conducting my own constituents’ survey which can be found on my website, so that residents can send me their thoughts and preferences. 

I encourage everyone to get in touch so that I can best represent you in the parliamentary process.

On an issue of this importance, it’s only fair that everyone gets to have their say.

I will continue to fight for a deal that respects the referendum and works for people here – not just next week, but for as long as it takes.