I know that there are a lot of mixed emotions across the country and across Salford about the decision to leave the European Union, especially with the vote being so very close. It is right that people across Salford are contacting me in their thousands to express their thoughts and concerns and I must stress that whatever your position on this (or indeed any other issues) the thoughts and concerns of Salford and Eccles residents are crucial in helping me to formulate the interventions I make.
This is quite simply one of the biggest decisions our Country has taken and now it is up to the Government and indeed, MP’s like myself to voice the concerns of their constituents.
I campaigned to remain in Europe, not because I did not recognise some of its failings, but because I wanted to try and reform them so that the flaws I could see would not outweigh many of the significant benefits we received. My main fear, as I explained at the time, was that Brexit would be used by the Government as an excuse to throw away many of the very positive things we gained from the EU, such as worker’s rights, financial regulation, health, safety and environmental regulations and as a result we would see a system to replace it that acted in the interests of the few not the many.
I do however believe in democracy and I accept and respect the result of the referendum.
I will not be blocking the triggering of Article 50 in Parliament this week as I believe it would undermine the democratic process to vote against beginning the formal process of leaving the EU.
It is now crucial to secure the best withdrawal deal for Britain and that the Government listens to all communities across Britain when it enters into negotiations and indeed acts in their best interests.
I do feel very strongly that the action the Government is about to take must be in the interests of Salford, Eccles, Swinton and Pendlebury and I intend to make sure that the Government hears my views on any deal they seek to strike with Europe. Ultimately I want a Brexit plan that serves the interest of my community, not a Brexit plan that helps this Government build an economic model that serves the interests of a select few, even more so than it does now.
In terms of how the Government is held to account, as you know, the High Court determined that the Government does not have the power to trigger Article 50 without the consent of Parliament, when it comes to legislation Parliament is sovereign.
The High Court decision was upheld after the Government appealed the judgement in the Supreme Court, this decision will now allow Parliament to scrutinise and vote on the deal that the Government wants to put forward.
Labour has stated that the Government's plan must be published in plenty of time before Article 50 is triggered to allow for the House of Commons, the devolved administrations, the Brexit Select Committee and the British people a chance to scrutinise it. There are big issues involved in this that matter to everyone in every part of our country, and I believe the Government must be able to provide clear answers to questions on these issues.
Labour will be putting forward amendments to the Governments proposals this week such as to protect workers’ rights and environmental rights and also to ensure that we can progress a real clamp down on tax avoidance. Labour will also demand a vote in Parliament on the terms of the final Brexit deal before it goes before European Leaders and MEPs.
Our withdrawal from the EU is the most important issue facing our country for generations and it is crucial that we secure the best outcome for all of us.