Today, in the House of Lords, peers will try to defeat the Tory government over their reckless plans for a hard Brexit.

I’m certainly no fan of an unelected chamber, and believe reform of the Lords is long overdue, but I’m very thankful that parliamentary pressure continues to grow for Theresa May.

The cross-party group of peers, including my great pal George Foulkes, aren’t prepared to stand by and let the Prime Minister wreak havoc on our economy.

After the final day of this stage of the EU Withdrawal Bill in the upper house, the Brexit debate will then return to the Commons – and that’s where things could get really interesting.

We learned at the weekend that rebel Tory MPs believe they now have enough support among their ranks to force Theresa May into keeping the UK in the European Economic Area.

Only one stumbling block remains: the frontbench of my own party.

Like many of my colleagues in both Holyrood and Westminster, I am deeply frustrated that Labour is not leading from the front in opposing a hard Brexit.

As every economic study has found, the least-worst option for jobs if we are to leave the EU is to retain permanent membership of the Single Market and the free movement of goods, services, money and people that it delivers.

Manuel Cortes, the general secretary of the TSSA trade union, said yesterday: “Labour must seize the moment.”

Given the overwhelming number of Labour members and trade unionists who back the single market, and in light of the disappointing local election results in England, I’m still confident that our party’s stance will soon shift.

Ultimately, however, the deal that Theresa May finally brings to parliament is too important to be decided by just 650 MPs.
I believe 65million people across the UK deserve a people’s vote on the deal.

Every voter in the UK can then decide if a decision that will affect our lives for generations makes the country better or worse off.

The People’s Vote campaign has the support of Labour, LibDem and Green politicians, as well as many people with no party affiliation.
The one voice that is missing is the SNP’s.

On Sunday, Nicola Sturgeon’s closest confidante, former special adviser Noel Dolan, said the First Minister should be campaigning for a vote on the Brexit deal.

Other sensible voices in the party agree.

What is the SNP scared of?

There is a perception that the SNP paid lip-service to the Remain campaign in the 2016 referendum, secretly hoping for a Leave vote in the misguided belief that it would galvanise support for Scottish independence.

It’s time for the SNP to prove that they don’t put their own interests ahead of what is best for the people of Scotland.

The people of Scotland will suffer if Theresa May gets her way and inflicts a hard Brexit on our country.

That’s why the people deserve a vote on the Brexit deal.

Good deal or bad deal, surely we can all agree it’s a big deal?

 

This article was first published in the Daily Record newspaper on the 8th of May 2018.

Share This