Peoples Vote March
Peoples Vote March

I want to tell you why I took part in the March for a People’s Vote UK in London on 20th Oct.
In the Commons I reminded the prime minister that the people running British businesses were made a promise during the referendum and by government since. That promise was that they would have the ‘exact same benefits’ outside the EU as we have at the moment. After two years of negotiation this is categorically not the case.
You’ll note the PM saying in her reply that they have put forward proposals for frictionless trade, meaning there won’t be any barriers or costs involved in trading with the EU. It’s true, she has, and those proposals were rejected by the EU over a year ago, she failed to point that out! And secondly, her answer only applies to companies that export materials to the EU which account for 20% of our economy. 80% of our economy are services, such as educational, creative industries like design and video games and film production, and financial products. Not only has government failed to negotiate a deal for these sectors, get this: They are not even attempting to. They announced over summer that services are so powerful they can negotiate their own individual deals!
Now something about Brighton & Hove. We have the highest number of start-ups in the country outside of London. We have the highest percentage of micro businesses and businesses run from home in the country. And overwhelmingly these enterprises offer services. Added to that how important tourism and universities are to our local economy and it is patently clear that Theresa May and her government are hanging our city out to dry.
I will not stand by while this happens.
The referendum cut straight through our political culture and traditions. Our two-party system has been splintered by Brexit and many MPs are paralysed by the challenges of reconciling how their own constituencies voted with what they have come to believe is in the best interests of our country and the people they represent in parliament. The result is a government that is out of its depth and a body politic that simply doesn’t match the scale of challenge we face as a nation.
I am not immune from this criticism, I’m part of our politics after all. I can only try as desperately as I can to get better at my job, to be more effective, and make sure our community has the most powerful voice possible. My god do you need and deserve it in these difficult times.
But the fact is that our political systems are not coping with Brexit, and if we’re not careful a dysfunctional parliament will deliver a dysfunctional outcome to Brexit and our country will pay the price for generations to come.
Despite politicians saying ‘the people voted for this’ every day, the truth is that the only people who know what they voted for are citizens themselves. That, simply, is why we must return to you, voters, at the end of this process. When government come back with a deal, or fail to get any deal at all, it is you who must decide if this Brexit is a patriotic Brexit that is fit for our country, our economy, and our society.
Last week government told parliament that it is hiring a staggering 16,000 new civil servants and spending an extra £3bn over the next two years just to administer Brexit. This is just one Brexit reality among dozens that emerge every week so it didn’t even make the news.
I have lived and breathed this as your MP, and at the end of this process I want you to be able to sit down and study the final deal and ask yourself, how does this affect my job, my family, and my country. Can I still use the EU arrivals lane when I go on holiday? Do I have to pay more taxes when I sell or buy a product or service into an EU country? Will my utility bills cost more? And will my country still have the power to shape important global issues like global warming, plastics, nuclear disarmament, and trade?
And then you should be able to have your say. If you don’t think the deal is good enough for you, your family, and Britain, you should be able to reject it and remain a member of the EU. If you do think it’s good enough, then you similarly need to have your voice heard too.
But there is a key difference between this vote and the last. The referendum was based on promises, the People’s Vote will be based on fact.
It’s a big thing for me to leave Hove at the weekend, you all know how much I love being here. But yesterday was just to important for me to stay at home, so I got up early, faced the rail replacement busses, and marched so proudly beside three quarters of a million other people who’d come from all corners of our nation with one simple message: give us a say.
I hear you and I’ll fight for you to get just that.

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