Yesterday evening Parliament voted to give Theresa May the power to invoke Article 50 and start the negotiations for Britain’s exit from the European Union. In Redcar & Cleveland 66% of people who voted in the referendum opted to Leave the EU. I completely respect that verdict and joined the majority of my fellow Labour MPs in voting with the Government to invoke Article 50.
During the referendum people on Teesside sent Westminster a clear message that the current social, economic and political settlement is not working and that they wanted to see change. I heard that message loud and clear in the conversations I have had with residents when out knocking on doors. It is my job now to ensure that the views, concerns and interests of all of my constituents from Marske and Redcar, through to Greater Eston and Ormesby are heard in the exit negotiations.
Whilst the verdict for Leave was clear, the terms of Brexit were not on the ballot paper. For this reason I think it is absolutely right that MPs should have a role in scrutinising the Government’s negotiations. Every MP has the opportunity to speak up for the needs of their own area. This is the democratic sovereignty so many voted for in action.
People in Redcar & Cleveland and across Teesside voted for Brexit. However they did not vote to give the Government a blank cheque to negotiate away their jobs, their rights and their security. Many of the people I spoke to voted leave because they wanted to see a more active, interventionist Government that would intervene to support industries like steel. They certainly didn’t vote to allow the Tories to turn Britain into a tax haven with less regulation, lower standards, fewer workers’ rights and lower taxes on international businesses.
My focus has been on protecting jobs and investment and creating an environment that will attract more to our area. I also want to see levels of regional development funding protected by the Government so we not lose out.
There are four key issues which I think I should be concentrating on, based on the needs of our area and what you have told me:
- The best possible trade deal to help local businesses and bring new jobs to our area
- Making sure Teesside doesn’t lose a penny of EU funding - between 2014 and 2020 we were due to receive £162m, or £243 per person.
- A plan on immigration and freedom of movement which addresses people’s concerns but doesn’t hurt the economy.
- No cuts to employment rights like paid holiday, parental leave and working hours.
We have to make the most of the opportunities provided by Brexit, and I urge the Government to ensure that they help rather than hinder areas such as Teesside.
I welcome the views of residents in Redcar constituency, which includes Eston, South Bank, Grangetown, Normanby, Ormesby, Dormanstown, Marske & New Marske, so please do get in touch with your opinion of what my priorities should be. There is a survey on my website to fill in: http://www.anna4redcar.org.uk/eu_survey.
It is vital that Brexit empowers our region and allows us to attract the inward investment we need to bring new businesses and industries to the area, creating the decent, secure, and well paid jobs we desperately need.
I will now fight for the best deal to achieve that.