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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.

2 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.

    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.

    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.


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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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