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Labour must not sign Government’s suicide note

The Supreme Court has confirmed that the Government cannot trigger Article 50 without a parliamentary vote. The Government should never have wasted taxpayer’s money and time in seeking to bypass a parliamentary vote. Some of the foremost Brexiteers who wanted to leave the EU to boost our ‘parliamentary sovereignty’ seem remarkably frit when it comes to exercising it.

The decision is absolutely accurate constitutionally. But it is a hugely embarrassing ruling for Theresa May, albeit the Government has used the time wasted to avoid scrutiny of what Brexit looks like and the ramifications of last June’s referendum.

In my community in London – stretching from Rotherhithe through Bermondsey, Borough and down to Walworth – the impact has already been felt. My constituency has the third highest financial sector employment of any in the UK. So far, financial institutions have already indicated 7,000 jobs will be transferred to Paris and Frankfurt. More will go following the PM’s disastrous announcement that she is prepared to lose single market membership. Universities in my area include Kings, LSE and London South Bank University. Many fear a loss in research funding as well as a drop in international student numbers. The impact could mean higher tuition fees for UK students over time – as well as a loss in student spending power in London hitting business.

Londoners will know of Borough Market and my constituency’s superb contribution to our eating options. I’ve met and heard from Greek, Polish and Spanish restaurateurs and trade providers already hit by additional import costs resulting from the drop in the pound. Other London businesses have told me they have not expanded and invested as intended before the referendum. That is jobs lost already – with more to follow as the Article 50 negotiations rumble on for two years just debating extricating from the EU. Drawing up a wholly new trade agreement will take even longer – whilst businesses invest in other EU member states and jobs continue to be transferred.

London is losing out as a result now. More damage will come as the implications of Brexit expand. For this reason, I am one of the growing number of Labour MPs who will not vote to trigger Article 50. I made a simple promise in the May 2015 general election that I would not support in Parliament anything that would harm people in my constituency. My patch of London was betrayed by a Lib Dem previously who voted for Tory measures like the bedroom tax, legal aid cuts and oversaw a tripling of tuition fees. I will be keeping my pledge.

Labour should not sign up to the economic damage the Government is pursuing. May is drafting her economic suicide note and Labour must not sign it with her. Starmer can pursue a whipped abstention for Labour MPs or could cause every person who loses work or other opportunities between now and the next election to hold Labour culpable in their misfortune. 

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