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After four long years of debates, arguments and disagreements about Brexit we finally have some clarity about our future relationship with the European Union. With businesses desperate to survive the impact of the pandemic, being left by the government waiting for clarity with only days to prepare for changes is utterly irresponsible. This deal was as far from an “oven ready” deal as possible.

I believe that a better deal could have been negotiated, already fishing groups are lobbying me saying they are bitterly disappointed that it does not offer them the control of waters they were promised, UK service industries are not included in the deal and face additional fees and barriers, and crucially it does not include access to the European Arrest Warrant (this was used to bring terrorists to justice after the London bombings in 2005).

Brexit has already happened and there is no time left to negotiate something better. I have been constant about my belief that we need a deal and that a no deal would be a disaster.

Some people are saying that Labour should abstain, but I believe that Labour cannot sit on the side-lines and abstain on the biggest issue that has defined a decade of politics. The overwhelming message from residents, in emails, conversations, messages and through my survey is now we have left the EU the majority of residents want a deal.

We cannot walk away from tough decisions. I care about what happens to businesses and people in Hull West and Hessle and if I can stop a no deal Brexit then I will. A future Labour government can improve this weak deal.  We have a duty to act in the national interest and so despite its many failings I will vote for the deal and continue to hold this government to account for the way they have let us all down.

I want a race to the top, I want a more equal and fair society, I want real devolution of power, action on climate change and a genuine, sustained investment in our area. Now together, let’s unite and focus our efforts and energy on recovering from the pandemic and getting Hull West and Hessle the support we need to rebuild stronger and better than before.

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