As I have previously set out, in line with the wishes of the people of Torfaen, just over two years ago, I voted to trigger the process to leave the European Union pursuant to Article 50.

I have voted against the Prime Minister’s deal because it is a reckless, blind Brexit with such a vague Political Declaration. Last week, on 29 March,  I opened the Parliamentary debate for the Opposition, when the Government attempted to split the Political Declaration about the future relationship with the EU from the Withdrawal Agreement itself.  Here is a quote from my speech.

“We used to say that the political declaration was so vague that it was a blindfold Brexit. However, we also now know, because the Prime Minister has made it clear that she intends to leave office, that rather than this just being a blindfold Brexit, the Tory party is asking us not only to be blindfolded but to be led into a different room by a different Tory Prime Minister. Let us be clear: this will be a Prime Minister ultimately chosen by Conservative party members, who constitute a tiny part of the wider electorate. The Tory party can talk about the national interest, but it is not in the national interest for the future of our country to be decided by a Tory leadership contest.”

I have continued to speak out against No Deal as an awful outcome for jobs and investment. At Welsh Questions on 3 April, I raised the issue that, on the Government’s own figures, the Welsh economy is projected to be over 8% smaller over the next 15 years as a result of a No Deal outcome. As the Member of Parliament for Torfaen, I have regular conversations with local employers and I have indicted to them my wish to take the risk of an immediate No Deal off the table as soon as possible. Accordingly, I voted for the cross-party Bill in Parliament this week to prevent a cliff-edge on 12 April. The Bill passed its final stage in the House of Commons by 313 votes to 312 on 3 April 2019.

I am sorry the Prime Minister did not try to seek a consensus at an earlier stage and hope her offer of cross-Party talks this week is genuine and that her negotiating “red lines” will change. I will continue to argue for Labour’s proposed deal based on a customs union, a strong single market relationship and ensuring rights, standards and protections which never fall behind. I think it is important to be pragmatic at this time in terms of finding a way to break the deadlock in Parliament: the option of a confirmatory public vote to be kept on the table with Labour’s proposed deal remaining a preferred option.

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