10th June 2018
Brexit can be stopped – but only if pro-European Labour MPs do their duty. This was the message from Rutherglen Liberal Democrat Councillor Robert Brownin a personal letter to Rutherglen & Hamilton West Labour MP Ged Killen this week.
The House of Commons is due to vote shortly on the European Union Withdrawal Bill and, in particular, on the amendments passed in the Lords which the Conservative Government seek to reverse.
“I have made no secret of my view that coming out of the European Union is a total and unmitigated disaster, which will damage the living standards and prospects of almost everyone in the United Kingdom. The negotiations conducted by Mrs. May’s Government have achieved literally nothing – which is hardly surprising when the Cabinet is divided even over what they want from Brexit. I have frankly not seen such an incompetent Government in my lifetime.
Parliament has the opportunity to do two things. First, they can insist that, whatever else, Britain remains in the European Customs Union and the Single Market – that is the absolute least that is needed if British trade, jobs and living standards are not to be wrecked by Brexit.
The second is to pass the Liberal Democrat amendment requiring a People’s Vote on the terms of Brexit – with an opportunity to do what the majority of people in opinion polls now clearly want which is to remain in the European Union if the terms are unsatisfactory. Actually we already know the terms are highly unsatisfactory and damaging to our country’s interests.
That is why I have written personally to Ged Killen whom I have known and worked with as a Council colleague and in the campaign to keep Scotland in the United Kingdom.
The position of Labour MPs is crucial. If they back key amendments from the House of Lords, they can halt Brexit in its tracks. If substantial numbers of them vote according to their judgment , they can beat the Government on this and require a People’s Vote on the Brexit terms.
If on the other hand they continue to support Jeremy Corbyn in backing a hard Brexit – in effect giving cover and protection to the Tories – Theresa May, Boris Johnston and Michael Gove – they will condemn the country to a very difficult future.
This is a key moment and it is time for Labour MPs – most of whom are at heart pro-European to stand up for what they believe in.
Ged Killen and many of his Labour colleagues were voted in last May, not least because many young people believed it was the best way to stop Brexit and secure a European future. I hope they were not wrong.“