Opinion: I will fight No Deal ‘every step of the way’
- Credit: Chris McAndrew/Creative Commons
Events in parliament may be moving at break-neck speed, but my position on Brexit has remained consistent throughout.
Thousands upon thousands have written to me since the EU Referendum, expressing their dismay at the government's approach to negotiations. They have consistently demanded that I support their right to a final say in a People's Vote and, above all else, residents have insisted that I vote against a No Deal Brexit.
I adopt these positions because I promised to represent Hampstead and Kilburn residents in Westminster, rather than Westminster in Hampstead and Kilburn. My speeches, my votes and my events in the constituency are all undertaken with the sole ambition of serving those who have elected me to represent them.
In that vein, I believe that crashing out of the EU will have dramatic and damaging consequences for jobs in my constituency. Supporting a chaotic exit would also represent a gross betrayal of the European nationals who have made Hampstead and Kilburn their home.
There are over 22,000 thousand EU Nationals in my constituency. They are our family, our neighbours, our colleagues and our friends. Though I would never reduce their societal contribution to a purely economic one, it is also an unavoidable fact that they EU nationals have helped the area's economy grow over successive generations.
Watching ministerial performances over the past few years, I have felt an unending sense of shame over how this country, their country, is seeing fit to treat them.
Take the Settled Status scheme, which has been beset by technical problems and processing issues. This has caused serious anxiety, and I am working with residents who have been affected. However, the very fact that those who have been settled in this country for decades are having to apply to stay here is undeniably a reflection of how toxic the national debate has become.
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The contradictory messages towards EU nationals go right to the top of government. On the one hand, we have the former home secretary saying that "no rights will be removed", should we leave without a deal on October 31. On the other, we have the current home secretary actively seeking to remove freedom of movement via secondary legislation once the clock strikes midnight on October 31.
We have cabinet ministers claiming that the Settled Status programme has been successful, but we also know that there are still two million people yet to go through the system. We know that of the one million who have received settled status, around a third have been given "presettled" status. These two "statuses" clearly do not confer the same rights, which leaves significant room for concern.
At the past two elections I promised to be an outspoken voice against any policies that worsen the prospects of my constituents. We are watching grossly anti-democratic manoeuvres from an unelected prime minister being undertaken to force through a scenario which nobody voted for. As the member of parliament for Hampstead and Kilburn, I will fight No Deal every step of the way, and will continue to fight for the rights of those I am so privileged to represent.