Statement from Rachael Maskell MP


I will be voting against the triggering of Article 50, in line with the strong remain vote from my constituents last June.

There is much diversity across all communities in the UK, and Labour is the only Party that can speak for the whole country by ensuring that local people have a voice in politics. York has over a 1000 year history of being a centre of trade in Europe, and its economy through its two universities, manufacturers and tourism base still very much relying on Single Market membership and free trade arrangements.

The UK is no longer being offered a ‘people’s Brexit’ but a ‘Theresa May Brexit’, which goes far beyond just leaving the European Union, as voted on at the referendum last June.

I have consulted with my constituents and local businesses throughout the process and held a number of meetings for them to voice their opinions, read over one thousand pieces of correspondence just this weekend, and organised two packed emergency meetings on Monday night.  I have listened carefully to my constituents, those I am entrusted to represent in Westminster, who voted strongly to Remain in the EU. In voting against the legislation, I am representing the will of my constituents, ensuring their voice is heard in Parliament. When I took the oath of allegiance upon swearing in to Parliament in May 2015, I broke with convention and swore my oath to my constituents first; I will not forget this.

I believe that Theresa May’s Brexit ‘plan’ is creating an unjustifiable level of risk at a time of national and international uncertainty and volatility, with silence on national security measures, no mention of climate change mitigation or environmental protections, and no guarantee of good jobs or employment rights. Most worrying of all is the rapidly changing social context which is leading to a rise of racism and hate crime in the UK. These are the very things that I have campaigned on all my life and believe are central to Labour’s values.

I also have serious concerns about the impact of the Prime Minister’s plan to take the UK out of the Single Market and Customs Union on the agricultural sector.

Showing 38 reactions

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  • Thanks Rachael for sticking up for the 48% who wanted to remain. We need an opposition to May. Proud to support you.
  • As a constitutional lawyer, I have some reservations about the Referendum process, particularly where the initiating legislation does not make clear what action is to follow the referendum. Even though I myself voted to remain I would not have criticised you had you supported the Artcle 50 triggering. There will be times when it may be right for an MP to take a view apparently at odds with his or her electorate. You are elected as a Representative, not as a Delegate.

    There is little indication that the Government has thought through the Brexit process. The same comment might, I fear, also be made about the Opposition. What would a “good” Brexit look like for York?

    Your decision to defy your Leader’s whip was courageous.I hope it will not be too long before you return to the Front Bench.
  • Thank you Rachael – you listened and heard the will of your constituents. That is your job and you did it very well. Very sad to see you go.
  • Doesn’t that mean that now you have no say in the amendments and can no longer vote in the final and most important vote? So haven’t you rather shot yourself in the foot when it comes to fighting for the rights of your constituents. Voting against triggering it at this point wouldn’t stop it happening. Seems like a bit of an empty gesture hoping for popularity? I am a remainer just to be clear.
  • Rachael, Thank you for standing up for what you believe in and for representing the wishes of your constituents. It’s sad to see that so few MPs have shown the same integrity and backbone as you have. We must now get those A50 amendments in place to ensure maximum damage limitation.
  • Thank you Rachel for your attitude.
    The refusal by most MP’s to challenge the very principle of article 50 disappoints me greatly.
    I find terrible that the future of this country is being decided by a minority and is unchallenged by the rest.
    You stand out with honour and integrity.
  • From


    “This Agenda is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity. It also seeks to strengthen universal peace in larger freedom. We recognise that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development. All countries and all stakeholders, acting in collaborative partnership, will implement this plan.”
  • Just to reassure Deborah, the vote wasn’t to stay in the EU but to allow Parliament the opportunity to have a say rather than an unelected PM. The UN and the EU are entirely different organisations. As a mainly Christian continent, the EU is far from being overrun by any single group. Indeed most of the Muslims we continue to happily share our country with have not come here via the EU.

    I believe that if we are to be slaughtered, it will more likely to be as a result of a war generated by the USA or Russia, both of whom wish to see the EU weakened to strengthen their own positions.

    Finally, I understand that statistically, we are more likely to be harmed by a vending machine than someone of the Muslim faith.

    Sleep easy Deborah, climate change will sort out overpopulation.
  • This is the worst time on the planet to vote to stay in the EU! Read agenda 2030 on the United Nations web page what they plan to do in every nation. . . If we stay in EU we are finished we will be taken over by Muslims and live under Sharia Law shame on you Rachel Maskell a big shame and curse on you and Britain you are selling us out the people are dumbed down by the media liars. Europe has been destroyed by refugee Muslims you are doing the same to the UK I pray God of Mathew Mark Luke and John will deal with you and all the so called Government ruled by a shadow government using puppets to do their will to destroy the people and leave 500 million on the planet because they think it is over populated!! The people need to know how the world system works not like they are lead to believe. If we don’t exit the EU we will be destroyed slaughtered and there will be no future for your children do you hear me?
  • Rachael Thankyou for speaking for the people of York in this, I appreciate it was not an easy decision but I am sure it was the correct one and you have my wholehearted support.
  • Although I believe dividing the only strong opposition to the tory hard brexit right now is foolhardy in the extreme.
    I fully respect the right, and the reasons you have taken your stance ,One has to applaud a politician that actually listens to her constituents and has the courage and the conviction ,Mr Corbyn is off the same ilk and i hope you will continue to work as hard for your members and your country
  • A dedicated public representative!!! Go ahead Rachael, we’re with you!!! Well, proud of you!!!
  • Bloody well done. Someone has to speak for the the rest of us – you know – that huge minority 48% who no longer constitute “The British People”.
  • Thank you, Rachel for representing the voice of your constituents
  • Rachael, I am so proud of you and I think you for genuinely reflecting the views of your own constituents. I know it has been a very difficult decision for you and I understand the complexity of the issues. In general I agree with party unity, but given your leader is currently someone who made no real effort to support the ‘Remain’ policy of the Labour party and has asked for unity after himself opposing his own party over 400 times I think you are absolved from any accusation of disloyalty. And, more important, Theresa May’s vision of Brexit is so far removed from what even Leavers were, in general, voting for, I believe you are supporting the best interests of the British people.
  • Thank you, Rachael. Thank you for consulting, for explaining your position and for voting according to your conscience. We need more politicians like you.
  • Great pity you have rejected the opportunity to push for the amendments to protect our hard won rights. The third reading is the right time to reject it if the amendments fail
  • Thank you. You did the right thing.
  • I am disappointed that you did not support the leadership on this. I voted Remain but believe that supporting Article 50 now is the best way to give Labour any chance of having a say on the final Brexit deal.
  • I am sure it was a very difficult decision – torn between your constituents and party leader – both of whom you clearly esteem greatly. I am only sorry that it had to come to this. I am glad you are my MP.
  • Good for you. And good for York.
    The entire debacle is foolhardy, and I admire you for sticking to your principles, and for doing what you believe to be right.
    If only more MPs felt the same way.
  • Well done Rachael…you are principled and talented. People are crying out for a new progressive force in UK politics and labour, I’m afraid, are not it. Tonight I am joining the Green Party..if you listen to their beliefs, principles and motivations, I’m sure you will find they align with yours. People in York will not forget you stood with them in the Brexit referendum and subsequent voting. Your track record in York does you proud and you have a loyal and strong support base….could you possibly get elected as a Green MP for York I wonder. Imagine the momentum, the feel good factor, the possibilities of a new politics and a new world. At least think about it. All the best whatever
  • It is many years since I left the Isle and went abroad to poke my nose into foreign politics. I miss the involvement in UK politics somedays. But the thing that strikes me is that what I read the missives from Labour MPs these days, it so reminds me of the LibDem politics that we used to despise so much. The idea that you don’t set the agenda, but rather you read the mood of your local politics and reflect that back. Becoming merely a mirror for an electable position. We used to view that position as so lacking in intellect and strong on the self righteous that even Tories and Labour would at once revile the LibDem stance. Your argument is weak. Are you voting against article 50 based on the stance laid out by Theresa May or if the stance was acceptable would you vote for it? How can voting against article 50 reduce hate crime? Apart from your constituents, how do you know what people voted for? Do you believe that leave voters ever believed either side of the argument and formed their vote based on that narrow band of propaganda? Was this a national vote or was it a constituency vote? What do you think the outcome would be if article 50 is voted down? The last question goes far beyond the division it would create within the UK. The EU wants to shake off the British. It is almost chomping at the bit to rid itself of our negative influence. I wonder how the Labour party became you. How you somehow became what the Labour party would like to retain. I think it was desperation to win the vote. Pretty much like the Libdems with a better known brand name.
  • Thank you Rachael. Your actions have given me hope st this bleak time. Try to ignore the critics, you have absolutely done the right thing and that is not always the easy thing. York Central clearly voted REMAIN in the referendum and you have stuck by us. We won’t forget that x
  • thank you rachael, not just for doing what you thought was right but also for the way you consulted your constituents and listened to them before doing so. it took guts and principles to do it but you did the right thing.
  • Whilst I admire you in principle, as I also voted remain, I am disappointed by you joining yet another attempt to undermine the twice democratically elected leader of the party (with a huge mandate). As a member of the Labour Party, I am heartily sick of all this infighting within the Party, and as May and her cronies are put under greater pressure by an increasingly disillusioned general public, especially now, in the light of the Trump fiasco, a united party is is needed more than ever. The Labour Party needs to be strong in these worrying times; rebelling against the Party line is not the way forward. Whatever you think personally of Jeremy Corbyn, he has increased and revitalised the membership of the party, and a united front will increase confidence in Labour as a viable alternative. He offers the only hope for this disintegrating society in these hard times and I hope you will support him in the dark days ahead.
  • Thank you Rachel. I know it wouldn’t have been an easy decision.
  • Thank you so much for putting us first. I was beginning to lose faith with politicians and you have shown that there are still some who will put constituents before career. I am confident that the future will prove your position absolutely correct.
  • Thank you for standing up for your constituents in the face of criticism, that takes serious courage of conviction. I believe that Brexit will be a mistake and that if we must go ahead then we must do so having ensured the best result for the UK. This vote tonight seems as though it is on May’s terms, rather than those of the people she purports to represent.