This week the House of Commons has been voting on a range of issues related to our departure from the European Union.  While there has been much coverage of the debate, the detail can often be lost in the media frenzy.  So I wanted to lay out for my constituents how I’ve voted and why.
To be clear from the beginning – I respect the referendum result.  We are leaving the EU next March and my sole responsibility as your Labour MP is to make sure that the Conservative Government secure a Brexit deal that works for the Potteries.  Which means that I’ll be scrutinising the Government – not giving them a free pass to undermine Parliament and ride roughshod over our constitution.  My red lines are clear, I want to protect the local economy, especially our manufacturing exports, defend workers’ rights, ensure that environmental protections remain in place for the next generation and deliver an immigration system that works for the Potteries.  I also think it is vital that we can continue to work with our Allies to ensure our place in the world and our security at home. 
So it is these principles which guide my votes and my battles with the Government. 
I have voted therefore to ensure that Parliament has the final vote on the Brexit deal – I do not expect to vote against the deal, but rather I want the Government to understand that they have to reflect the interests of my communities and our city in their negotiations and I won’t be quiet if they fail us. 
I have voted to protect our employment rights and our environment and I have put the Government on notice about the need to be able to access European markets so we can export our tableware.  However I have also refused to support the UK joining the European Economic Area (EEA) and I won’t vote for anything which makes the UK a rule taker in terms of future legislation and which doesn’t answer the Northern Ireland border Question.  With other colleagues I have been working within the Labour Party to make our position on the EEA clear – you can see our efforts here
Independent link:- 
The Sun link:-
The Guardian link:-
Brexit will prove to be a defining moment for our country.  I have a responsibility to make it work for my constituents and as an opposition MP I have a duty to ensure that the Government are acting in the national interest as they renegotiate our place in the world.  All I ask of you, as one of my constituents, is to keep in touch with me, let me know which issues are most important to you as we leave the EU and believe that I am fighting to represent your interests in Parliament to deliver a Brexit that works for the Potteries.  


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