Parliament has now voted to trigger Article 50 to begin the process of leaving the European Union. The vote was one that I and I’m sure all MPs did not take lightly. As the representative of Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney constituency, I considered the views of the people in our area who voted in last June’s referendum and the views of the hundreds of constituents who have contacted me in recent weeks. As we know the majority of people in our area, in Wales and across the UK voted to leave the EU. There are some that say, the result of the referendum should be set aside for a variety of reasons. I cannot accept that. 33million people took part in the referendum, one of the biggest democratic events in decades and I believe that the result has to be respected. It was not the result that I had hoped for or campaigned for but it was the view of the majority of people across the country to leave the EU. After careful consideration, I supported the motion to trigger Article 50. The referendum created huge division in our country with families and communities on different sides of the argument. The task for the Government and indeed all of us now is to try and heal those divisions. Leaving the EU will be a tricky process with many obstacles and challenges but quite possibly opportunities too. A key priority must be the protection of the jobs we have in our area that are supported through our trade with the EU. We also need to ensure that we retain our environmental and consumer protections, safeguard the status of EU citizens living in the UK and of course protect the workers’ rights that have been secured through our membership of the EU.
This article was originally published by the Merthyr Express and the Rhymney Valley Express. If you have been affected by any of the issues raised or would like to know more, feel free to contact Gerald using the contact tab above.