On Wednesday I told the House of Commons why I have decided to vote against the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill, now I want to explain to you how I came to my decision.
As many of you know, last week I sent a Brexit Survey to all Labour members and many of my constituents. 80% of those who responded asked me to vote against the triggering of article 50. Many of the people who commented on the survey expressed serious concerns about what impact leaving the EU would have on their and income as well as how it will affect the wider economy.
I do not like the fact that the Government have behaved in an authoritarian manner, seeking to bypass Parliament completely and have done none of the usual consultation on how to deal with a major constitutional change. That is unacceptable.
The Government have also decided to pursue an extreme form of exit which will put our economy and the jobs and services of my constituents at grave risk. The Tory election manifesto said they would stay in the Single Market but the PM decided not to even try to do this. In Liverpool and Knowsley, we have already suffered disproportionately from 7 years of LibDem and Tory austerity. Leaving the single market and the customs union, regardless of the dislocation and damage will hit us hard again, making people in my Constituency poorer and taking away opportunities.
Votes on this bill could be the last chance Parliamentarians had to shape the kind of exit we have because once Article 50 is invoked, we are automatically out after two years, whether there is an agreement or not.
Lastly, on such a momentous issue, I feel that I should reflect the way my constituents voted. Liverpool (85% of my constituency) voted 58% -42% to remain. Knowsley (15% of my Constituency) voted 52% - 48% to leave.
An MP owes their Constituents their sincere judgement. It was mine that I should vote against the second reading of the Bill and now that it has passed, try and amend it.