Withdrawal Agreement

Last night I voted to reject the Prime Minister’s Deal. I appreciate and respect the fact that the majority of people in Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney voted to leave the EU and the onus is on the Prime Minister & the Government to negotiate a deal.  However, the Prime Minister’s deal does not satisfy anyone. Leavers and Remainers are opposed to it. I have received hundreds of emails and messages in recent weeks from constituents across Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney and only 6% of people supported the Prime Minister’s deal.

This deal is an abject failure. It will not deliver frictionless trade. The deal has already been rejected by Parliament, the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly. It is opposed by the TUC and the entire trade union movement.

The deal is deeply flawed, one that will not protect jobs, rights or living standards. The Prime Minister has failed to deliver any substantial change to her deal. Not a single word of the Withdrawal Agreement or the Political Declaration has changed since it was rejected in January.

Labour has repeatedly emphasised that there needs to be fundamental change to the Political Declaration to ensure a close economic relationship with the EU.

The deal does not deliver a good outcome on services and would limit access for British businesses to vital EU markets, it would also allow future Tory governments to erode workers’ rights, consumer protections and environmental standards.

It provides no guarantee that the UK will continue equivalent arrangements to what we have now with key EU programmes and agencies and it gives no certainty the UK will remain part of common security arrangements such as the European Arrest Warrant which is of grave concern for our security.

No Deal

Tonight, I will support all efforts to prevent a no deal and a damaging Tory Brexit. A No deal Brexit would be a catastrophe for the country. All economic analysis and evidence show that No deal would damage our economy.

From manufacturing to farming a no deal Brexit will be disastrous for jobs, rights and living standards. Businesses and trade unions across the country have repeatedly warned about the catastrophic impact of no deal on jobs and the economy. A No deal Brexit would also be a hammer blow to manufacturing industry that employs around 4000 people in our constituency alone. A no deal outcome would also greatly increase the risk of a hard border in Northern Ireland and a threat to the hard-won peace on the island of Ireland.

A no deal Brexit would also have implications for travel across Europe for millions of holidaymakers as well as those travelling for work.

A no deal could potentially hit our economy by up to 10%, which would mean lower wages, higher prices at the supermarket, not to mention the further challenges to trade from currency markets and a falling pound. If the economy is hit by 10%, the reality is that areas like ours would probably be hit harder. I simply cannot vote to increase hardship on the people that I have been elected to represent. I care deeply for our area, an area where I was born, raised and still live. Many of the people I now represent are also my family, friends and people I grew up with. I cannot support anything that would damage their prosperity and livelihoods.

Labour’s 2017 manifesto recognised that “leaving the EU with ‘no deal’ is the worst possible deal for Britain and that it would do damage to our economy and trade. No deal is not a viable option. Therefore, tonight, I will vote to oppose no deal.

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