Brexit has been divisive in our communities and has cost our economy an estimated £600 million a week, making the total cost in excess of £90 billion, which is far in excess of what we pay to the EU. A No Deal Brexit would cause severe damage to UK businesses and some have already suffered losses. The NHS has lost many workers who have not felt their future is secure. One in ten clinical posts in the NHS is currently vacant and loss of EU workers has contributed to this as well as the strength of the euro against the pound. Farmers are struggling to find workers that have traditionally come from Eastern Europe.
Labour accepted the result of the 2016 referendum. In our 2017 manifesto however, Labour committed to oppose a No Deal Brexit and the Conservatives Brexit plans – which threatened jobs, living standards, and the open multicultural society that we value so much.
When I have been out canvassing in St Austell and Newquay people who voted leave have said if Remain had won then there would not have been any suggestion of a second referendum and we would have remained. I think this may be a true observation, but it is also worth pointing out that leaving with No Deal was not on the ballot paper.
The shadow Brexit team held the Government to account during the process. This helped secure a meaningful vote on their deal, which was then defeated three times, including inflicting the largest ever defeat on any Government. And following their refusal to publish their legal advice, this Government became the first to be held in contempt of Parliament.
Labour set out a compromise plan to try to bring the country together based around a customs union, a strong single market relationship and protection of environmental regulations and rights at work. This is a sensible alternative that could bring the country together.
But the Prime Minister refused to compromise and was unable to deliver, so we ended cross-party talks.
Now the new Prime Minister is threatening a No Deal Brexit, or at best a race to the bottom and a sweetheart deal with Donald Trump: that runs down industry, opens up our NHS and other public services to yet more privatisation, and shreds environmental protections, rights at work and consumer standards.
I do not think anyone in this country wants to accept the US food standards with its chlorinated chicken, its higher antibiotic use in animals, its use of growth hormones in animal feed, and GM foods sold without labelling. Our farmers pride themselves on fresh healthy produce and good animal husbandry.
A No Deal would bring an estimated £20 billion increase in custom costs. These increased costs will lead to UK goods becoming uncompetitive.
The consequences of a No Deal Brexit will have a devastatingly detrimental effect on Ireland and will require a trade border to be established. This is seen as a route to a return of the Troubles in Ireland and not to be countenanced after the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 which has achieved peace after decades of violence and turmoil.
The new Prime Minister should have the confidence to put their deal, or No Deal, back to the people in a public vote.
In those circumstances, Labour would campaign for Remain against either No Deal or a Conservative deal that does not protect the economy and jobs.
Labour has a crucial, historic duty to safeguard jobs, rights and living standards. But no Brexit outcome alone can do that.
We need a general election. After nine years of austerity, too many people in this country cannot find decent secure well-paid work, and have to rely on public services that have been severely cut back.
Our country is ravaged by inequality and rising poverty, huge regional imbalances of investment, and the government is failing to tackle the climate emergency facing us all.
That is why we need a Labour government to end austerity and rebuild our country for the many not the few.
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This blog will be created by members of the Exec committee or by local Labour Councillors on topics of interest to the St Austell & Newquay Labour Party