December Brexit Update


Hopefully you will have seen my previous Brexit updates in previous newsletters and on my website. As ever, things have drastically changed since the last update in November. You will now likely know that the long-awaited Parliamentary vote on the Prime Minister’s deal – that was supposed to take place last week – has been pulled and delayed. The Prime Minister has now said that vote will take place on 14th January 2019, though if she’s pulled it once she could of course pull it again.

The problem is, however, that leaves us with precious little time to get things sorted before the date of 29thMarch 2019, which was set for Britain’s withdrawal from the EU. It seems that the Prime Minister is trying to maximise pressure for Parliament to accept her deal – warts and all – in order to avoid a no deal exit on 29th March. All the indications are, however, MPs will not give in to the pressure and that the deal proposed by the Prime Minister will be voted down whenever it comes before Parliament for a vote. Whatever arguments continue in the coming weeks about that, however, one thing is clear. Crashing out of the EU without a deal would be the worst thing for the UK – including for jobs and living standards in the Midlands. That is why I signed up to a letter with scores of other MPs from different parties to press the Prime Minister to avoid that eventuality and rule out a no-deal scenario. The letter is gaining more signatures as each day passes.

Some of the signatories will vote for the Prime Minister’s deal. Some of us will not. But what unites us is a conviction that crashing out of the EU without a deal must be ruled out, whatever happens. There are various ways that could be achieved – including extending the date of the Article 50 process which sets out the timetable and deadline for Brexit. I will be working with like-minded colleagues in the coming weeks to push the Government to take stock of the reality and join us in ruling out a no deal Brexit. If you want to read more about my take on Brexit and haven’t yet read this, last month the Birmingham Post and Mail also published a piece from me on some of the options facing Parliament in the weeks ahead.

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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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