Over the last week I have received a number of e-mails in relation to Brexit and the EU referendum. The Government yesterday tabled a bill to give the Prime Minister the authority to trigger article 50. The bill is currently very brief and amendments will of course be brought forward next week when it will be debated more fully by the House of Commons.
As you will be aware I voted against a recent motion which committed us to an arbitrary timetable of triggering article 50 by March this year. This is still my view and therefore I will be voting against triggering article 50 when the bill is brought to parliament.
I have signed a reasoned amendment which calls for the Bill’s demise on the grounds that the government has failed to “safeguard British interests in the single market” or offer proper guarantees on whether parliament or the electorate should decide on leaving the single market.
I do not think this is the right time to trigger Article 50.
I cannot support Theresa May’s belief that Britain can get a better trade deal outside the single market. I believe leaving the single market would fundamentally damage investment and growth and destroy jobs.
These are turbulent times and this artificial deadline for triggering Article 50 has more to do with splits in the Conservative Party than what is best for the country.
The reasoned amendment I have signed allows us to have a more detailed debate about the dire economic consequences of rushing to leave the single market.
In order to safeguard our economy we would have to find other trading partners, for example the US. I have very little doubt that the trading agreement with the US would be on Trump’s terms and not ours and this is a weakness of trying to negotiate trade agreements as a single state. It makes our continued membership of the EU single market very important when we leave the EU.
Leave campaigners often said the referendum was not about leaving the Single Market and I agree with them, and this is the reason I have signed the amendment and will be voting against triggering Article 50 later this week.