The EU referendum result and its implications


In the weeks following the EU Referendum I have received hundreds of items of correspondence from constituents. I have written to constituents who have contacted me regarding the EU referendum result and its implications, and I intend to continue to give EU updates as often as possible. This is what I said:

Dear constituent,

Thank you very much for your contacting me on the outcome of the European Union referendum and the implications of Brexit for our area, the region and the UK. I really appreciate your taking the time to get in touch and share your views with me.

Many apologies for the delay in getting back to you, I assure you it’s certainly not a lack of interest in the subject. Since the referendum I have received hundreds of items of correspondence. These have taken time to read and for my team to log. What’s more is that the situation has been in a constant state of flux. As one constituent who contacted me recently has summed up perfectly:

“I held back from contacting you over the referendum result during its immediate aftermath; things were changing so rapidly that anything I sent could well have been out of date before you even saw it. A week may have been a long time in politics in the 1960s, but two hours have been even longer just recently.”

Indeed, none of us have lived through anything like this before and nobody can know what lies ahead.

In the weeks after the referendum, I wrote an initial response to the monumental challenges which Brexit raises for our country, which you can read on my website here, much of it still holds true:

What has become undeniably clear since then is that although the Leave campaign won, they have no definitive plan or pathway for what exiting the European Union should look like or should achieve. What I have found even more disturbing is that the Conservative Government made no plans either.

So what now? As your Member of Parliament I want to be very clear. We must respect the outcome of the vote and see that beyond the many challenges are also many opportunities for the UK to think radically on fighting inequality, low skills and job insecurity as well as have a wide debate on how the UK can be continue to be an outward, global player on the world stage.

There are many questions which hang over the debate which many of you have raised on how we go forward; how and when Article 50, which begins the formal process of exiting the EU, should be triggered?; how industries, funding and jobs can be guaranteed amidst uncertainty?; how our regions and people of all ages can have input on future negotiations?

Parliament returned this week following summer recess and already we have seen lively debate. Yesterday we heard from the newly appointed Secretary of State for Exiting Europe, David Davis, give a statement and take questions, which you can catch up on here: Unfortunately, the Minister’s responses added more to the questions than provided answers about what the Government is doing.

There was also a Westminster Hall debate yesterday on the EU referendum rules epetition, which I know over 3,750 people from in Birmingham Northfield signed. You can catch up on that here:

More debates and scrutiny of the Government’s work on prospectively leaving the EU will however continue and I want to assure you I am already very concerned that the Government may trigger Article 50 without a parliamentary vote – to rule out anything at this stage would be hugely irresponsible – and nothing about it would chime with the UK taking back control.

What all this adds up to is that while the people of this country have told the Government what they do not want i.e. continued membership of the EU, the Government has an obligation to now set out the alternatives it is pursuing. Moreover, whatever deals it is able to negotiate must be both transparent and subject to scrutiny and debate, both in Parliament and in the country as a whole.  

I hope you find this response useful, I’m sure this will be the first of many as I will do my best to give EU updates as often as possible. The best means for you to follow these will be to ensure you subscribe to my newsletter and follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

I also want to continue hearing from you about your ideas and what you want for the UK in the long term. To help stoke your thoughts I have listed a number of resources below my signature.

Thank you again for your views so far, and please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Best wishes
Richard Burden MP
Birmingham Northfield

Vote leave Watch:

Open Britain:

Ed Miliband on seizing the moment to attack inequality:

Electoral Reform Society on referendum lessons:

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Richard Burden

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I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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