Over the past three years, I have spent a lot of time listening to the concerns of businesses, across Torfaen and elsewhere, about the impacts of a “No Deal” Brexit. I’ve also considered carefully the Government’s own “Long-term economic analysis” of our Withdrawal from the European Union. It projected that in a “No Deal” scenario, the Welsh economy would shrink by 8% over 15 years. The full Government report can be found here. I’ve also taken note of what the Bank of England has said – one example can be found here. In Parliament, I have supported cross-party efforts by MPs including Jack Dromey, Caroline Spelman, Yvette Cooper, Oliver Letwin and others to find a compromise and prevent No Deal, and have listened to businesses, trade unions, and other groups. Most recently, I listened to Make UK, the representative body for UK manufacturers, who set out that “No Deal” would be “disaster” for UK manufacturing with the automotive sector particularly affected – which would have particular consequences for Torfaen.I have stated my reservations about the current Prime Minister’s Deal, both in the local press and in the House of Commons. The Political Deceleration is worryingly vague, since it allows for a “spectrum of outcomes” and can therefore be described as a blindfold Brexit. On 10 April 2019, the UK and EU agreed to extend the Article 50 period to 31 October 2019 with the possibility of leaving the EU earlier if, and when, a deal has been ratified.

I believe it has been reckless for the current Prime Minister to run down the clock and has left it too late to reach out for consensus on a way forward. A snap General Election, was called by the Prime Minister, the outcome of which was that no Party in Parliament reached a majority – something that the Prime Minister knew since June 2017. This should have been the catalyst for the Government to reach across the House to find a way forward, however, no such requests were made until the 11th hour.

I have continually argued for a deal that allows the United Kingdom to withdraw in a way that protects jobs and living standards. What I would like to have seen agreed – and entrenched so that a future Tory Prime Minister could not unpick it – is a comprehensive Customs Union with a say in external trade deals, strong single market access (so no additional trade barriers for our firms), and protections for rights (for workers, consumers, and the environment) so that the UK does not fall behind. The current Prime Minister would not, however, move her red lines, and the talks failed, something that has now seen the subsequent end of Theresa May’s premiership.

The recent European Elections showed the huge challenge there is in terms of bringing the country together. I will keep pushing, within Parliament and outside, for a General Election to eject this awful Tory Government from Office; and we, as a party, are seeking a confirmatory public vote on any deal to be kept on the table to break this ongoing deadlock, and avoid No Deal. With a Tory leadership contest, and a new Prime Minister installed by the end of July, things are changing. The prospect of a hugely damaging No Deal Brexit is now before us, and I am deeply worried by the nature of the debate in the Tory leadership contest, which totally fails to put the jobs and livelihoods of my constituents first. It also risks the unpicking of public services including the NHS as part of new trade deals including the prospect of a UK-US trade deal. I will continue to work in Parliament to avoid this, which would have such adverse consequences for Torfaen.

Thank you for contacting me on this, and please be assured I take into account all the views people send me.

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