Skip to content

Articles about ‘Brexit’

November Brexit Update

The Prime Minister has now set out the terms of her proposed Brexit deal (all 585 pages of it!) and Parliament is about to start nearly two weeks of intensive debate ahead of votes on 11th December. I recently set out my thoughts on where things stand and on the choices facing the UK in an article published by the Birmingham Post and Mail here.

Based on what I know now and in line with the arguments I set out in that article, I intend to oppose Theresa May’s deal which I believe would leave the UK worse off. I also intend to back amendments which call on Parliament to rule out crashing out of the EU without any deal at all – something which I believe would have very severe and damaging consequences for our country.

Brexit and a people’s vote

Unsurprisingly, lots of constituents have written to me in the last week about the Brexit deal that Theresa May has brought back. If – as looks likely – Parliament rejects both Theresa May’s deal and leaving the EU without a deal, then a people’s vote may yet be the only way to break the logjam. I have set out my thoughts in an article in the Birmingham Mail’s Birmingham Live website available here.

October Brexit Update

We are now in the key period in Brexit negotiations and preparations. Yet the Government have dithered, squabbled with themselves, marched up and down the hill time and time again, everything but making the effective decisions that are sorely needed. It is extraordinary that over 2 years on from the referendum and after over 18 months of negotiation, the Government still have no credible or coherent plan for Brexit.

Negotiations were supposed to conclude this month, but with the Government fighting itself and stuck in a state of paralysis, that deadline was missed and a new one to be set in either November or December. By that point, we will be just a few months away from the date set in March 2019 for the UK to leave the EU. We will then have a mad rush to get ready, and Ministers look like they are preparing to try to railroad a half-baked Brexit deal – or the prospect of no deal at all – through Parliament, without giving MPs the meaningful say that was promised only a few months ago. That isn’t good enough. No government has the right to plunge the country into chaos as a result of their own failure and Labour will continue to judge what Theresa May brings forward against the tests we believe any Brexit deal should address.

Earlier this month, Cllr Alex Aitken and I were invited to hold a discussion forum on Brexit at Cadbury College in Kings Norton, where Alex himself was a student some years ago.  It was an excellent discussion with some of the contributions made by students rather more to the point than I sometimes hear from Ministers.

Brexit and the Motor Industry

All the evidence suggests that the terms on which Britain leaves the EU will be of key importance to jobs and living standards of people in the UK for many years to come. The stakes are particularly high for the automotive industry which is an industry on which hundreds of thousands of jobs up and down the country depend on. It is also an industry that brings in £77.5 billion every year in revenue and which makes up almost 10% of manufacturing output.

In Parliament this month I set out why it is so important that we get the approach to Brexit right in order to maintain the health of the UK automotive sector. It is one of the sectors of British industry most closely integrated with the EU and the emergence of any barriers to frictionless trade or additional bureaucracy after Brexit risk seriously damaging the industry.

The automotive sector is another example of where the Government’s plans for our future relationship with the EU just really will not cut it. I regularly meet with representatives from the automotive sector, and in the past month I have met with Jaguar Land Rover and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, the warnings the industry have made about the damage of a bad Brexit deal are serious. Even at this last stage, I am urging the Government to listen to the voices of industry. This is about the livelihoods of people in the West Midlands and in other parts of the UK.

Brexit White Paper

This month the Government released its Brexit White Paper which sets out the sort of relationship the UK Government wants with the EU after Brexit. It has taken over two years since the referendum for the Government to reach the stage where it can attempt to agree a position on the basics of our future relationship with the EU. However, the White Paper has unravelled within days with Cabinet resignations and concessions on the content of the Paper.

With only a few months left until Brexit negotiations are supposed to conclude, the government is once again in crisis with divisions in the cabinet and Conservative Party out in the open. These proposals look like a failed attempt to put a sticking plaster over a divided Cabinet and Conservative party. They do not represent the comprehensive plan for jobs and the economy that Britain needs.

Two years on from the referendum and the Government still has no credible or coherent plan for Brexit. Labour is offering a clear alternative. Earlier this month Labour pressed the Government to change course by tabling a series of amendments to the Government’s Taxation and Trade Bills. These amendments included measures to require the Government to establish as a negotiating objective the UK’s participation in a customs union with the EU and measures to enhance scrutiny of future UK trade deals. Unfortunately the Government did not accept these amendments but Labour will continue to set out our vision for a Brexit deal that works for Britain.