Report from Ruth George MP for High Peak on her consultation on Brexit with her constituents.

This letter was sent to all the people who registered for the event. Thank you Ruth for taking an interest. We hope given the results you feel able to campaign fully for remain in the Labour party.

Thank you to all the 300+ people who came to my meetings on Brexit last weekend and responded to my survey on which options you would prefer for our deal with the European Union.
If you haven’t yet completed the short survey, I’d be grateful if you could, and pass it on to friends in High Peak to have their say.  Whether you voted Remain or Leave, I’d like to hear from all sides:
Now the Government has been forced to give Parliament a ‘Meaningful vote’ on the deal, I’d like to hear views from as many constituents as possible before that vote, so I’m continuing the survey and will hold more open discussion meetings around High Peak in the weeks to come.
Our deal with the European Union will affect this country for generations, and at last weekend’s meetings, many concerns were raised about how our deal is shaping up and the local impact:

  • Ensuring access for local businesses to free trade with Europe within a Customs Union.
  • £40 billion ‘exit payment’ and impact of a predicted economic downturn on the least well off
  • Our ability to travel, study and work abroad – employers were worried they might not be able to recruit skilled staff from the EU, jeopardising local jobs if contracts can’t be fulfilled.
  • EU citizens leaving the UK, and high vacancies in the NHS.
  • Continuing subsidies for farming and the upland environment so land management is viable.
  • Protection of our food standards and environmental safeguards, consumer rights and rights at work.
  • Loss of the EU Social Fund that supports many local charities, businesses and organisations.

Although High Peak voted almost equally for Remain and Leave in the referendum, there were only two contributions from Leave supporters, despite requests at both meetings.
One speaker in Buxton felt trust would be lost if we did not leave the EU.  So I’m particularly keen for people who voted Leave to complete my survey to find out what they want from our deal.
This week I voted in Parliament for amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill to:

  • Preserve all our current rights and protections, including the Charter of Fundamental Rights
  • Future-proof our environmental protections
  • Require an Economic Impact Assessment of the final deal before Parliament votes on it
  • Enable us to have a Transition Period to avoid chaos at our borders in March 2019
  • Limit the huge ‘Henry VIII’ powers which give individual government ministers the power to make laws on almost anything without consulting Parliament.

However, Conservative and DUP MPs opposed all these practical improvements to the Bill, so none of them were passed.  In consequence, I believe the Bill is not fit for purpose, so I voted against it.
The Bill has now passed to the House of Lords where it may be amended.  If the government disagree with any of the Lords’ amendments, then MPs will vote whether or not to approve them.
The debate and votes on Brexit will continue and I welcome hearing from all my constituents – whichever way you voted in the Referendum – on what you want from Brexit and how it will affect individuals, businesses and communities in High Peak.
Thank you for letting me know how you feel on this, and on all the other important issues facing our country.
With kind regards

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