This evening, the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal was defeated in Parliament. I was one of the 432 MPs that voted against the deal.
This isn’t a decision I have made lightly. The result of the European Union referendum in Swansea did not give a constituency breakdown but House of Commons Library independent research on the vote estimates that Gower voted to remain by 50.7%.
Since being elected I have listened to the views of constituents that I’ve received by email, letter, telephone call, and at public meetings. I have now been contacted by 738 separate Gower constituents who have directly stated whether they wished to remain or leave the EU. After analysing each response, 21% of constituents stated that they wished to leave the EU, whilst 79% of constituents said they wanted the UK to remain a member of the EU.
More importantly I considered the impact this deal would have on my constituents. The deal the Prime Minister agreed with the EU and presented to Parliament was deeply flawed and represents a complete failure of her approach over the last two years. The Prime Minister's deal does not protect jobs, workplace rights or environmental standards. It does not ensure frictionless trade for UK businesses, or allow for EU wide consumer protections. The lack of a clear future relationship would’ve also meant the likely usage of the Northern Ireland backstop.
This result tonight should also not be an excuse for a “no deal” exit from the EU. A no deal Brexit would be catastrophic for agriculture and manufacturing industries in Gower, and the Government does not have the right to plunge our country into chaos because of its own failure to get a good deal. I will therefore be supporting amendments that make rejection of a no-deal Brexit clear, and Parliament must use all options to ensure it cannot and will not happen.
It’s now clear that Theresa May’s Brexit deal is finished, and she must step aside for a government that can offer this country a plan with light at the end of the tunnel. Her government has lost the confidence of Parliament, so a motion of no confidence must be tabled and she should do the honourable thing and call a general election.
However, the majority of my constituents in Gower have told me they can’t accept any Brexit without a final say on the deal. That is why I will continue to press for a People’s Vote on whatever withdrawal deal is agreed in Parliament, so the people can have the final say on the type of Brexit they desire.
My constituents did not vote to be poorer because of Brexit and for as long as I represent them in Parliament, I will not vote for a Brexit that makes them a single penny worse off.