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HomeCommentColumnistsBrexit-shambles: May demonstrated that she is in office but not in power

Brexit-shambles: May demonstrated that she is in office but not in power

Last week Theresa May demonstrated yet again that she and her government are in office, but not in power, writes Helen Hayes…

The sight of the Tories postponing the vote on Theresa May’s unpopular Brexit deal at the last moment, as it became clear that the deal was as unpopular in Parliament as it was across the United Kingdom, demonstrated just how weak the government currently is.

Residents of Southwark and Lambeth voted overwhelmingly to Remain in the European Referendum in 2016. Since that time there has been a further swing towards Remain in south London and across the country.

I am a pro-European who campaigned very strongly to Remain in the EU during the 2016 referendum.

I believe that the European Union has contributed strongly to peace and prosperity in Europe and that cooperating with our neighbours is the only way to tackle the big challenges facing us in the 21st century.

The leave campaign lied during the EU referendum campaign and broke the expense limits that were designed to ensure that the campaign was run fairly.

It is clear that Brexit will have damaging consequences for our economy, and for public services like our NHS – the government’s own figures show that there is no version of Brexit which doesn’t leave the UK poorer.

In Parliament I have voted repeatedly against Leaving the EU and in favour of a People’s Vote, reflecting the very strong pro-Remain views of the vast majority of my constituents in Dulwich and West Norwood.

Theresa May’s deal is far worse than the current deal we have with the EU, and when she finally brings it to Parliament, I will vote against it.

It is now clear that Theresa May has lost the confidence of a significant proportion of her own MPs and her deal is unlikely to be approved by Parliament.

If Theresa May’s deal fails to win support in Parliament then she should resign and a new Conservative leader should call a general election which would allow the British public their say on both the Conservative’s deal, and on the damage that this Tory government has been wreaking on communities up and down the country through their programme of austerity.

If the Tories will not support a general election then the government must allow people the opportunity to vote on the detail of the Brexit deal.

This is not a ‘second referendum’; it is not ‘asking the same question again until we get a different answer’.

It is acknowledging that there are many issues which were not known or debated during the 2016 referendum campaign, and that the reality of Brexit now looks very different from what was promised by the Leave campaign.

In this context, it is important that people have a final say on whether we want to go forward on the basis of a deal which will have damaging consequences for the UK, or whether we want to think again and stay in the EU.

 

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