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View from the House: 'Our country deserves better than this'

PUBLISHED: 10:30 28 March 2019

Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0)

After another hectic period in British politics, this feels like a good time to update Ham&High readers with where we are on Brexit both as your local MP and as Labour's Brexit spokesperson.

Tomorrow (Fri) was meant to be day we left the European Union. However, after two years of failed negotiations the Prime Minister has lost control.

She has negotiated a deal that her party cannot support, members of her government are in open revolt, and Parliament has been forced a delay to our departure to prevent a no deal Brexit.

This is a Prime Minister without a plan who is simply acting on impulse. The wholly inappropriate statement she made inside Downing Street was symbolic of this chaotic approach.

Whipping up populism and using divisive rhetoric to pitch country against Parliament because of personal frustration are not the characteristics of someone who is in charge.

I know how worried people across Camden are about this. People frequently visit my surgeries, stop me in the streets or on the Tube and ask me: what’s going to happen next? What would no deal mean for my family? How is Brexit going affect jobs and the economy? Thousands of you have signed petitions and I’m sure many of you were on the march through London last weekend. The fact so many people are getting involved in politics – and doing so with such energy and passion – is a fantastic display of what our country should be about.

I do share the anxiety and frustration people feel. This is the most turbulent period I can remember in our country’s recent history. It’s a national crisis – and one all of us in politics have a responsibility to resolve. That’s why it was so important that earlier this week Parliament won the right to wrestle back control of the process. We urgently need to find a way to break the impasse.

There will now be intense discussions in Westminster about the best way forward. I have consistently argued that any deal we negotiate with the European Union must keep us economically close, including being in a customs union and aligned to the single market.

I have also made clear Labour’s support for a public vote as a democratic lock on any deal that the prime minister negotiates through Parliament.

Those are in my opinion the most credible options available to us and I will be making the case for them in days ahead.

I cannot predict what is going to happen next – I don’t think anyone can! However, one thing is clear: our country deserves better than this.

For two years, the government have failed to put forward a credible plan or listen to the alternatives. I used to say that the Prime Minister was surviving by the week. Now I’ve changed that to saying she is surviving by the hour. This is a mess of the Conservative Party’s own making and we desperately need a change of approach.

I do hope my next column will be on a more positive note. As ever, if you want to contact me, you can reach me on keir.starmer.mp@parliament.uk. Alternatively, visit my website (keirstarmer.com) to find details for my next surgery.

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