Last week in Parliament, there were important votes on Brexit relating to various issues and aspects concerning when the UK leaves the European Union.
I wanted to take this opportunity to spell out what I voted for and why.
Ever since the referendum I have said that I will respect the result and work towards getting this country – and more importantly, this constituency – the best deal we can when the UK leaves the EU next year.
I want to make sure that Ashfield companies do not have to pay tariffs for exporting goods to Europe, that jobs in Ashfield will not be put at risk and that workers’ rights are protected.
It is always the thoughts of how a deal will affect the people I represent that guide me in the way I will vote on Brexit.
With this in mind, I voted for Parliament to have a final and ‘meaningful’ vote on the terms of any deal the Prime Minister reaches with the EU.
This is so MPs can scrutinise the deal the PM comes back with to ensure it works for people in areas like Ashfield, not just leafy shires and big business boardrooms.
I have voted to protect employment rights and I voted for a new customs union, as this is the best way to ensure there are no taxes or customs checks with the EU, to support local manufacturing industry and to help prevent a hard border in Northern Ireland.
You may have read last week that I, and some of my Labour colleagues, refused to support joining the European Economic Area (EEA).
Coun-tries in the EEA share common rules, regulations and standards and abide by the ‘four freedoms’ of the Single Market (freedom of capital, goods, services and people).
Being a member of the EEA would not achieve the Brexit that most people voted for and it would mean we would abide by laws without having a say on them.
I could not vote for that option.
There is less than a year now until Britain leaves the EU, so this is a critical moment for our country.
I will continue to fight for a deal that works for you and Ashfield.