Brexit Update


Today’s “decisions are not just about whether this deal gets over the line, and getting Brexit done, but about what it means for our country.” For one of clearest explanations of the real dangers that Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal poses for our key industries – including for jobs and opportunities in the West Midlands – please read today’s speech in the Commons today from Labour’s Keir Starmer. The Hansard transcript of his speech is hereSpeech starts at 12.11pm.‬

Ministers claim that these fears are not well-founded, but Sir Keir Starmer’s questions are taken from what Boris Johnson’s deal itself says. Remember too that Ministers have admitted that they have not even carried out a full assessment of the impact the deal is likely to have on our economy.

Yes, after three years, Brexit needs to be sorted. But the reality is that nobody had even seen Johnson’s deal until Thursday. It was wrong for the Prime Minister to try to bounce Parliament into endorsing it just 48 hours later when so many questions about it remain unanswered and before the Government has even published the legislation that would be needed to enact it. Indeed, if the deal had been endorsed by MPs today, and that as yet unpublished legislation then failed to get a majority, the result would have been the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal on 31st October by default – with the disastrous consequences that would entail for our country.

That was why Parliament was right to vote as we did today and to insist that we should know the small print of what Johnson’s deal means for the future of our country before we are asked to sign off on it.

Which, of course also raises the question of who should have the final sign-off in any event. As Parliament debated today, hundreds of thousands of people marched through London to demand that, just as it was a vote of the people that has taken Britain onto the road to Brexit, so too should the people have the final say when the full terms of the deal on offer are known . For reasons I have outlined in the Brexit updates I publish on my website, I back the demand for a People’s Vote. I do so not to delay a decision but to break the gridlock in Parliament and bring the indecision to an end, with the confidence that the course that this country decides to take will reflect what the British people want to see.

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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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