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Vote on Article 50

The article that I have sent to this week’s Derbyshire Times in response to an enquiry about how I will vote on Article 50 ratification

This weekend’s deliberations ahead of the vote that will take place on whether to trigger Article 50 have been amongst the most tortured I have faced in my time as an MP.

To many, the issue is a straight-forward one. Britain voted to Leave the EU (as did Chesterfield) and the invoking of Article 50 is the parliamentary ratification of that vote. As a democrat, whilst being disappointed by the outcome, I respect it, and accept that Britain must get on with negotiating our exit from the EU.

However, accepting that Britain will leave the EU is not the same as accepting that Theresa May, an unelected Prime Minister who voted Remain, is the only arbiter of the terms under which we will leave. I am horrified that she appears complacent about the impact that leaving the EU single market will have on our economy, and the speed with which she appears willing to jump into bed with Donald Trump’s dangerous and divisive vision of Anglo American relations.

The image of our PM holding hands with the President, moments before he invoked an arbitrary order to ban Muslim refugees from seven countries, is an image that will haunt those who feel proud of Britain’s historic role in fighting the rise of Nationalist extremists, and promoting international co-operation.

Meanwhile, the vote will take place before she has produced the White paper which outlines her government’s approach to getting the best deal for Britain. I also feel she missed a trick by agreeing to trigger Article 50 without insisting that Britain could start negotiating with non-EU countries alongside our EU talks which will reduce the strength of our hand in those negotiations.

However, despite my many misgivings about the approach that the Government is taking, it would be disingenuous for me to overlook the extent to which last June’s referendum was a rejection of the ‘political establishment’ view. In that context, I feel the argument that says that we must allow those negotiations to begin in line with the outcome of that vote is a compelling one. Whilst I will vote for amendments that seek to protect our National Health Service and safeguard our economy, I will support the Government’s desire to invoke Article 50 at this week’s 2nd Reading vote.

I will also be fighting Chesterfield’s corner throughout. Leave campaigners promised that there would be more money not less for our vital public services and regeneration projects, I will be insisting those promises are honoured. None of us can be certain what the future holds, but my fight is to retain what is dear too us, not to fight the outcome of a campaign that is already over.

So I will vote to honour the referendum outcome this week, but Theresa MAY be sure, there’ll be no blank cheque on her vision of Brexit from me.

4 Responses to “Vote on Article 50”

  1. Lee Umney says:

    Please name me one Prime Minister that has been elected in the last 20+ years, as you should know, we vote for a political party NOT a prime minister.
    On the point of amendments, ANY vote on an amendment that seeks to keep the UK in the EU or the jurisdiction of the ECJ will be a breach in the trust the people put in you when voting you, the consequences of leaving the EU were laid out, i.e. if you vote to leave the EU hen the UK will leave the single market.
    The leaflet made it clear:
    This is your decision. The government will implement what you decide.

  2. tperkins says:

    In reply to Lee Umney: Firstly, I have voted to invoke article 50, this is in line with your wishes and very much against the wishes of many others, I am surprised you don’t acknowledge this as the most significant part of this whole business.

    Secondly, I agree with your general point about our system although as the article linked to below demonstrates, Theresa May claimed that Gordon Brown had ‘no democratic mandate’ under similar circumstances. http://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/theresa-may-urged-gordon-brown-to-hold-an-election-when-he-came-to-power-in-2007-a3293521.html

    I think this is relevant when she chooses for reasons of party political expediency to set out, without any opportunity for parliamentary debate, her own vision of Brexit.

    You suggest that it was always well known what Brexit meant, but as the attached article demonstrates, on many occasions reassurances were given about Britain remaining within the EU post Brexit. http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/open-britain-video-single-market-nigel-farage-anna-soubry_uk_582ce0a0e4b09025ba310fce

    As my article demonstrated I am not in the business of attempting to undo the vote, it is what it is, even if I remain of the view, that it was a mistake. But I do retain the right to say that whilst we are leaving the EU, the basis on which we leave is still a matter for debate not a settled course.

  3. Dean Sas says:

    Regardless of whichever way you leant in the referendum, I’m not sure yet anyone can say “yes, we’re ready for Theresa May to start negotiations”. I thought more time to discuss what we wanted from Brexit, and more time for the government to set a strategy would have been prudent.

  4. c-r swallowdowns says:

    Dear Toby Perkins MP
    I read your email & attachment (article Derbyshire Times) being 1 of the 140+, I thank you for respecting the vote to Leave the EU, as the majority of Chesterfield voted to do and in triggering Article 50 which as you said is the parliamentary ratification of that vote and the government are only the arbiter of the terms under which we will be leaving. (Not because I am a Brexiter but because you represented the majority voters of your constituents in your area who voted to leave)
    Seeing you campaign to stay in the EU, I can understand your statement “amongst the most tortured I have faced in my time as an MP.”
    I know that around 45 Labour MP’s voted not to be whipped and did vote not to triggering Article 50, some of those represented their constituents who voted to remain (majority voters) and if Chesterfield had voted to remain, then I would have understand if you had voted like-wise.
    The response by JC I also found was honourable in keeping those MP’s. in the shadow cabinet.
    l feel that last June’s referendum on the EU was a rejection (to some point) of the ‘political establishment’ yet Britain has always played a role in fighting the rise of Nationalist extremists, and promoting international co-operation. That I do believe will continue. That “she (PM) did missed a trick by agreeing to trigger Article 50 without insisting that Britain could start negotiating with non-EU countries” and the government (of the day) should not have a blank cheque on their vision of Brexit.
    I understand that it will now pass to committee stage after going to the Lords, were amendments may be added:-
    The two which I hope you will fight for are:-
    A) The rights of EU people living in the UK, who were here the date of the referendum have the rights to stay (if they wish) and will not be used as pawns in the leaving negotiating chess game that will start soon. This could give the UK the high ground and show that we are a fair minded nation. Most of these people are hard working, needed and thus an asset to the UK.
    B) Parliament and thus the MP’s (all MP’s) should have a free vote on the final deal, that we may have to return to Europe to amend the terms that we leave on, not a ping-pong that keeps us forever in limbo and the EU, but to let the EU know that people like yourself will have a say, not just the government of the day, that as a democrat you will always do the best for the people you represent, fighting Chesterfield’s corner throughout and that promises are honoured to all as fairly as possible.
    None of us can be certain what the future holds, yet I feel enlightened by the challenge that lay ahead, we need to start to remake thing again and not just relying on the city of London.
    Kind regards
    chazz
    crcswallowdowns@yahoo.co.uk

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I am Toby Perkins, Labour's Member of Parliament for Chesterfield. If you would like to get in touch with me, my office is open and can be reached by phone on 01246 386 286. I also hold regular surgeries in Chesterfield and Staveley so that constituents can meet me and I can take up their concerns. If you would like to make an appointment then please do contact my office. Thank you for visiting.

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