Our country may be more divided than ever, but if there is one thing uniting people across the country and the political divide, it’s a feeling of Brexit fatigue – of wanting this moment to end.
But even Britain’s departure from the EU wouldn’t spell the end of Brexit crisis – it is only the beginning of it. If we were to leave the EU next Friday, we would face a decade of turbulent negotiations over the real substance and colour of our future relationship, with the same cast of characters and all the same sticking points. Any kind of Brexit means ten more years like the three we’ve just had. That’s another ten years of funding cuts for our already struggling schools. Ten more years of our NHS being dismantled, and of Brexit haemorrhaging investment out of our public services.
That’s why this Saturday, Labour MPs will be marching in Westminster calling for the public to have the final say. It should never have come to this but, with a week before our scheduled exit date and Parliament still in disarray, the need for a genuine solution to the Brexit crisis has never been greater.
I don’t share the Tory right’s twisted Brexit daydream. Their fantasy is one of Britain “unchained” from the shackles of European regulation, where workers’ rights are thrown on the bonfire with social and environmental protections, and the country returns to record levels of inequality. No form of Brexit can serve the interests of British workers and future trade deals will see a levelling down of rights and opportunities. In York Central, over 1,300 of my constituents would lose their jobs if we crash out without a deal next week, research by the University of Sussex shows. This number only halves if we leave on soft Brexit terms. Make no mistake about it. There is no such thing as a “jobs first” Brexit. All this at a time we urgently need more skilled jobs in York.
York voted back in 2016 to remain in the EU and is immensely proud of its European heritage. According to analysis by Best for Britain and HOPE not hate, the chaos we’ve seen since the EU referendum has only strengthened our affinity to Europe, with 70% of my constituents now backing our EU membership.
In this light, Labour Party is the only party to offer a credible path forward for the country. Our Party has made a decisive step forward by backing a final say so that the public have a chance to use their voice in one of the biggest constitutional decisions in our recent history; the first opportunity to express a view on the Government’s deal. We are proud to be working towards a socialist Labour government at home. But as part of Europe, our party can work towards something even bigger, with a radical and progressive Labour Party leading the fight on the European left for progressive climate policy, a compassionate refugee policy, and a plan to combat and regulate capital. Labour will build a Europe to advance rights and opportunities here in the UK.
That’s why I’ve joined up with a host of other radical Labour MPs to form Love Socialism Hate Brexit. We are taking a stand with Labour members and activists everywhere in the fight against a disastrous Brexit; campaigning for a Labour government needed to heal the gross inequalities in our country.
That’s the vision we will be fighting for on Saturday. We urge you to stand with us.