For over three years, our politics has been poisoned by Brexit. But despite the din of debates around leaving the EU drowning out chance of dealing with the many other problems so many of us face, the Conservative government has failed to deal with this one issue.
Wimbledon constituents voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU. In fact, we were one of the top ten remain-voting areas in the whole country. And yet, whilst our Conservative MP Stephen Hammond began by paying some lip service to this, his votes in Parliament are leading us to a catastrophic crash out of Europe.
The Labour Party tried to bring the country together in a ‘soft Brexit’ compromise but this was not possible. The reality is that any Brexit with the Tories in government threatens to decimate our economy, rip up our protections, and destroy precious relationships with medical & academic institutions across Europe. Worst of all, it would be a victory for the xenophobia and racism of Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson. Freedom of movement would end, as could the UK’s commitment to the European Convention on Human Rights.
It is clear that there is no practical, safe way to leave the EU. Any attempt will lead to at least a decade of further protracted misery and uncertainty. I will not stand by and allow this to happen.
The Labour Party is now committed to putting the decision back to the people, and I will be glad to stand with the Party in fighting with all our might for Remain to win. Like any organisation, the EU is not perfect, and an on a personal note I have been troubled by how the EU has treated refugees. However, I believe it is our duty to remain and work to reform rather than turn our backs where we could be making a difference.
I understand that many people across the country voted ‘Leave’ because they didn’t want life to ‘remain’ the way it was. And that’s not surprising. Following the cuts initiated by the Lib Dem-Tory coalition, one fifth of the population live in poverty, including over four million children. Nine million people report often or always being lonely, and emergency foodbank dependency has increased by 73% in the past five years alone. For lots of people, the status quo is not a happy place.
But as the Labour Party, we are committed to dealing with the causes of inequality, injustice, and suffering. Bowing down to the reactionary short term ‘fix’ of leaving the EU won’t solve any of the biggest problems our society faces.
In 1945 the country was on its knees, broke and exhausted. Yet we still managed to build a ‘cradle to grave’ welfare state, creating the NHS, building homes fit for heroes, and dramatically reducing poverty. Labour kick-started the economy, and transformed the lives of millions.
We need another bold and imaginative Labour government that will face up to the biggest crisis – the climate emergency. There is much we can do to avert it. Neither leaving the EU nor Parliament stuck prevaricating over one deal or another will help anyone. If we stop Brexit, we can get on with solving these problems.
You can let me know your views here.