Parliament’s vote on Brexit
A number of constituents have contacted Steve about Brexit and the forthcoming vote in the House of Commons.
The Supreme Court has now determined that Parliament must be consulted before the Government can trigger Article 50 which will start two years of negotiations before the UK leaves the European Union. I regret the Government’s original intent to be secretive about their negotiating position and believe the Court’s decision will expose the Government to proper scrutiny and accountability which can only be a good thing.
I campaigned actively for Britain to remain a member of the EU, taking part in many door-knocking sessions, street stalls, handing out leaflets at local train stations and writing articles in support of continued EU membership. I believe that leaving the EU will damage Britain’s economy and the standard of living of our fellow citizens.
The majority of voters here in Croydon agreed with me and voted to remain, but a majority across the country voted to leave. It would be wrong and damaging for Parliament to hand decision-making to the people in a referendum and then ignore the outcome, so even though I disagree with the result, as a democrat I must accept it.
I am determined to play my part together with my Labour colleagues in Parliament to secure the best possible terms for Britain’s exit from the EU. In particular, Labour wants to see guarantees over the protection of workers’ rights, the environment, equality, and our economic prospects. I am alarmed at the Prime Minister’s headlong lurch towards a so-called ‘hard Brexit’ which threatens to further isolate and harm the United Kingdom.
To avoid that, Labour will seek to amend the Brexit legislation. We want the Government to publish their detailed plans and assessments of the impact on the country; retain barrier-free access to the Single Market as a priority; swiftly resolve the legal status of EU citizens in the UK and British citizens in the EU; guarantee parliamentary scrutiny throughout the Brexit negotiations; and hold a vote in Parliament on the exit deal early enough for it to be amended if necessary.
In addition, I will be looking for further devolution of powers to London that will allow our city to develop a strong relationship with the EU that maintains as many advantages of membership as possible, and for the UK’s future relationship with Europe to be strong, co-operative and mutually respectful.
I understand the strength of feeling on all sides of this debate. Although I must respect the result of the EU referendum I will only support the Government’s approach if I am persuaded they are acting in the national interest and the interests of people living in Croydon North.
Steven Reed is Labour MP for Croydon North and Shadow Minister for Children and Families. In 2018 his private member’s bill on reducing violent mental health restraint became law. In June 2019 he launched Labour’s civil society strategy outlining radical plans to empower citizens and communities.
Steve chairs the Cooperative Councils Innovation Network, co-chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group for London, was Leader of Lambeth Council 2006-12 where he led the council’s children’s services to become best-rated in the country and pioneered the public-health approach to tackling violent youth crime. He worked in publishing for 16 years and was an elected trade union branch secretary.