The referendum on whether the UK should remain or leave the European Union on June 23rd 2016 resulted in a narrow 52:48 majority for leaving the EU. In Liverpool, the result was 58:42 a large majority for remaining in the EU. In Knowsley, which includes Halewood, the national result was reflected with 52:48 in favour of leave.
The new Tory Government under Theresa May planned to leave the EU without any further consultation by triggering “Article 50” of the Treaty that makes us a member of the EU. Once Article 50 is triggered, we only have two years in which to finalise all of our future relations with the 27 members of the EU, including a new trade deal, travel rights, residency rights and security cooperation. If arrangements are not finalised by then, the UK will leave with no such agreements because the time for making them will have expired. The Government argued in the Supreme Court that triggering Article 50 is irrevocable.
As you will have heard, the Supreme Court ruled earlier this week that only Parliament has the power to trigger Article 50. In response to this, the Government has published a Bill, which, if passed unamended will give the PM the power to trigger Article 50 with no further reference to Parliament. Given that this decision will have an effect on not just us for the next decade or more, but our children, friends, families, employers and employees, I wanted to ask you for your views on what will be the central political issue of 2017 in the United Kingdom and probably for years to come.
The way in which the Government is pursuing Brexit, by trying to bypass Parliament, saying in advance that we will not even try to negotiate on staying in the single market and threatening our European partners that we will set ourselves up as a deregulated tax haven with no standards if we don’t get precisely what she demands is extremely worrying. Her disinclination to consult Parliament in any meaningful way until forced to makes the votes on the Bill tremendously important.
Our Leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has agreed to vote with the Government and trigger “Article 50” by the end of March, although he has said he will ask for some assurances on trade, employee rights and other core Labour values. However, if we don’t get those assurances, it is still looking likely that Labour MPs will be asked by Jeremy to vote with the Government in triggering “Article 50”.
This is one of the most important issues facing our country for a generation. Before I vote on this matter in parliament I want to hear directly from you. What do you think Labour’s priorities should be in the coming period and how do you think this should be handled in Parliament?
I have created an online survey so you can voice your opinions. If you would like to fill in the survey please email me at Maria.Eagle.MP@Parliament.UK.