Julie Elliott MP: A public vote on Brexit deal is the only way to solve this impasse

The vote on Tuesday has shown that the Government has failed to negotiate a Brexit deal that benefits this country.

Wednesday, 16th January 2019, 1:14 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th January 2019, 1:15 pm
Prime Minister Theresa May speaks after losing a vote on her Brexit deal in the House of Commons. Picture by House of Commons/PA Wire
Prime Minister Theresa May speaks after losing a vote on her Brexit deal in the House of Commons. Picture by House of Commons/PA Wire

It was not just a near defeat, it was a crushing defeat.

A defeat by more than 200 votes in Parliament is not just an historic failure, the worst defeat of a government in Parliament ever, but an indictment of a government in chaos – acting in its own interests rather than the country’s.

All it did was push decision making to an indeterminable point in the future. It did not secure the jobs of those who work in the key manufacturing sectors in Sunderland and the wider region, and it did nothing to assure the ‘Just in Time’ production methods that local businesses so heavily rely on.

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This is a deal that came from the result of a two-year negotiation period.

A period in which the Prime Minister decided to call a self-indulgent election, wasting months of negotiation time, and in which the government has been in absolute chaos.

The Prime Minister has now announced that she will reach across the house to find agreement, but this is something she should have done two years ago.

Instead of setting impossible red lines, and shutting down any attempts at working with her, she should have sought consultation from members of all parties and the country from the very beginning.

She did not listen then, and I do not believe she will listen now.

What has become clear over the last few months, and what became even more evident after the vote on Tuesday, is that there is no majority for any Brexit outcome in Parliament.

It is, however, widely acknowledged that a no-deal outcome is a catastrophic conclusion to this chaos.

A deal is necessary to ensure a trading relationship with our closest and biggest trading partners is maintained.

This is why I believe we should once again put the question back to the people.

We should extend the democratic decision making to the people, to decide whether they wish to affirm their support for the Prime Minister’s deal, the deal that both she and the European Union have said is the only one on the table, or whether they wish to continue with the deal we have now.

Therefore a popular vote on the deal is the only way to solve this impasse once and for all.