Bridget Phillipson MP: Why a new referendum is the only way to sort out the Brexit mess

Ballot papers at the 2016 EU Referendum count in Sunderland. Picture by Paul Kingston / NNP
Ballot papers at the 2016 EU Referendum count in Sunderland. Picture by Paul Kingston / NNP

After three humiliating defeats in Parliament this week, it is hard to see Theresa May’s Brexit plan passing through the House of Commons when it’s voted on next Tuesday.

MPs from all sides – myself included – oppose this botched deal. It’s become clear that it’s much worse than the one we have now with the European Union.

But that wasn’t my starting point. The day after the referendum, I promised to work for my constituents to try and secure the best possible outcome for our area.

That’s why I voted to give the government the power to negotiate a deal on behalf our country.

Yet it has become apparent just how complex this process is – more complicated than any of us could have imagined.

After over two years of chaotic negotiations, the best the Prime Minister could manage is an agreement that shows what was promised back in 2016 cannot possibly be delivered.

I believe we should use this opportunity to take stock of the options in front of us.

The government’s Brexit deal is the only viable plan put forward for leaving the EU, but it doesn’t resemble what the British public voted for in 2016.

I’m no starry-eyed idealist when it comes to the EU. It is in definite need of reform.

But our current arrangements are better for jobs and livelihoods in our area, and give our country a stronger voice around the world.

The Prime Minister has tried her best, but she simply cannot deliver an outcome that tops this.

The supposed benefits of her plan – like trade deals – are turning out to be little more than fantasy. Even Donald Trump has cast doubt on the prospect of a US-UK deal, and it won’t replace what we are losing.

The transition period in the government’s deal means we’ll be talking about Brexit forever, and not focusing on the issues that really matter: creating more well-paid jobs, sorting out the crises in our NHS and social care, and giving all our children the best possible start in life.

No one voted for a Brexit that drags on for the next decade – or more – with less control over our own destiny.

A referendum got us to where we are today, and I believe only a referendum will sort out this mess.

The people of our country should have the final say on whether we want Theresa May’s miserable deal or to stay with the one we have now.