The consequences of Brexit

July 7, 2016 at 10:06 am / by

EU Future Voters

This piece first appeared in the Ham and High on Thursday 30th June

Though I accept the outcome of the EU Referendum, I am enormously disappointed at the path the country has chosen. My position has always been that Britain was better off in the European Union, as I believed it was in our economic interests and our national security.

In Brent, 60% voted to stay in the EU, and in Camden 75% of voters chose to do the same. Based on the many letters sent to my office, the strength of feeling locally did not come as a surprise. London has benefitted greatly from Britain’s EU membership, and a large majority of local residents voted accordingly.

Senior figures in the Conservative Party are responsible for the vote to leave the EU, and they must be held to account for the consequences and decisions that follow.

David Cameron gambled on a referendum in order to provide a reprieve from divisions in his Conservative ranks, whilst Boris Johnson put his political ambitions before the country’s interests. Together with Michael Gove and Iain Duncan Smith, his campaign pledges included an extra £350m a week for the NHS which they are now running away from. The country has spoken, and these Conservatives must now be held to account.

Both campaigns had their faults. In my maiden speech, I spoke to my fears that the Referendum would become a proxy vote on immigration. So it proved, and we now face a serious task in allaying peoples’ concerns following an extremely fraught debate. Since the vote took place, I have been distressed to hear from constituents targeted with racist abuse. There can be no excuse for this, and I will work with police to ensure people feel safe in their communities.

It is vital that we politicians work in the national interest to safeguard our collective future. The shock to our economy has been profound, with billions wiped off the stock market and the threat of tens of thousands of jobs being moved abroad.

Significant workers’ rights legislation is now at risk. One example is the Working Time Directive, which makes it illegal to make an employee work for an average of more than 48 hours a week. Another is the Temporary Agency Workers Directive, ensuring that agency staff receive the same conditions as those in the same business doing the same work.

Labour must engage with the general public comprehensively. We must show our determination to protect the most vulnerable and to hold the Government to account following last week’s vote.

There has never been a more important time to be a Member of Parliament. I will be pressuring the Prime Minister and his Government to show what an exit plan looks like. As the country forms a new relationship with Europe, I will be fighting for Hampstead and Kilburn every step of the way.