Luke Pollard MP Member of Parliament for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport
Today the PM announced the latest change to the Brexit deal.
I welcome this agreement on the Northern Ireland Protocol which is long overdue. The government has let this drag on for too long causing yet more uncertainty and increased costs for businesses.
Labour has repeatedly urged them to reach a negotiated settlement. The outline of a deal has been clear for months. We’re glad the PM has finally shown he is willing to confront those in his own party who were holding a deal hostage.
If the PM needs our support in getting this over the line, he will have it. I’ve never been a fan of Brexit, but it is so important that we fix the holes in the deal especially such big ones that endanger peace in Northern Ireland. Labour’s priority has always been to ensure a functioning executive for the people of Northern Ireland, to protect the legacy of the Good Friday Agreement, and to support businesses to help drive us out of this cost-of-living crisis. We must not take peace in Northern Ireland for granted.
As a party we have said throughout that it was important to listen to the concerns of all the communities in Northern Ireland and that includes the Unionist community. The Prime Minister says this deal meets the DUP’s tests, they need to now have the space to judge it for themselves. We hope they do so in an openhearted way which really engages with all the challenges in Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland and the whole country has had to put up with years of uncertainty which has been damaging for business. Brexit was not done in 2019, and I think we all know Boris Johnson lied. But just as the government is trying to end uncertainty over the Protocol, it is producing new uncertainty through the Retained EU Law Bill, which will create an arbitrary cliff edge for vital laws and protections and is opposed by every major business, trade union and environmental group. What a mess.
It is time for us to move forward as a country and build a new, settled and constructive relationship with our European neighbours from our position outside the single market and customs union. Labour has a plan to make Brexit work, the first stage toward delivering the change people voted for and delivering a better future for all our country.
The Brexit deal signed in 2019 was a botched deal. It was bad for our fishers and farmers, bad for Northern Ireland and bad for those who import and export. I campaigned for remain but we have now left the EU. Our priority must be to make Brexit work – there is no other choice in the short term than fixing the mess the Conservatives have created.
I know some people want to rejoin and others want to erect larger barriers between the UK and the EU. Making Brexit work is the most sensible and immediate challenge. As ever, I’ll listen to all sides and if you’re commenting on this page please be respectful of differing views. The Windsor Framework is a step towards fixing a botched Brexit deal, but there is a lot, a lot, more to do.