Statement on the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement

Tuesday night saw the largest defeat of a sitting Prime Minister in living memory. It is therefore absolutely right that the Leader of the Opposition has put forward a motion of no-confidence in the Government.

How we exit the EU is the most important decision we have made in decades. It is vital that we do so in a way that works for both Barnsley and our country.

I voted against accepting the Prime Minister’s Withdrawal Agreement. I did so because, having both respected the referendum result and voted to trigger Article 50, I do not believe that her deal would have served the best interests of the people of Barnsley, or our country.

Since the outset of her negotiations with the EU, the Prime Minister has not only failed to build a parliamentary consensus on the best way forward, but has established unnecessary ‘red-lines’, pursued the wrong priorities, and ignored the needs of communities like ours.

As a result, her negotiations have floundered and her deal failed to deliver in four key areas: workers’ rights, regional and economic investment, our future trading relationship with Europe, and national sovereignty.

Accepting this deal would have resulted in a withdrawal which fails to grasp either the opportunities that leaving the EU could bring, or mitigate the potential threats associated with such a major change. In short, the deal was not good enough and the Prime Minister must now reconsider her options.

I do not have confidence in this Government to deliver the Withdrawal Agreement that the people of Barnsley need, and will be voting accordingly.

However, if this government does remain in power, it is now incumbent upon them to deliver a deal that can command support both in parliament and the country.

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