MP Column Ruth George on the realities of Brexit
Wednesday 9th August 2017 06:45 Glossop Chronicle News Posted by Adam Higgins

Every week, High Peak MP Ruth George will pen a column for the Glossop Chronicle to inform readers of her goings-on in Westminster and beyond and her thoughts on topical issues. Here’s her latest offering…

As Brexit negotiations are faltering after they have only just started, many constituents have put their concerns to me. Some want to make sure that Parliament honours the result of last year’s referendum, whilst others want us to pull back from it.

They say that in politics you can’t please all of the people all of the time, and with no issue has that been more true than the European Union.

I stood for election on Labour’s manifesto commitment to leave the European Union. Brexit was supported by a ma
jority who voted on the government’s promise to abide by the result of the referendum.

Not to press ahead would be seen as a betrayal by many people, and would be very divisive. That said, we now must focus on a deal to protect our national interests in the long term – keeping our options open as to how that can best be secured.

Our deal on Brexit will come down to a trade-off between our access to the European Free Markets in goods and services, and the amount we are prepared to pay for that access in terms of financial support, regulations and movement of people.

In contrast to the Conservatives, Labour promised to seek to prioritise British jobs and our economic prosperity in the negotiations. That means securing the best possible access to the Single Market, free of tariffs and expensive red
tape.

That is why the Labour Party have called on the government to seek a deal which delivers the same benefits as the Single Market and Customs Union, as businesses have been calling for, to protect their trading and supply chains.

The two main options for achieving this are membership of the European Economic Area, like Norway and Switzerland, or possibly remaining in the Single Market and Customs Union, if that is the only feasible route to secure the benefits.

Both options will include some trade-offs, and we will need to weigh that cost against the economic gains of tariff free access, but present economic predictors show we will be better off for securing that access.

We have a long way to go before a deal, and in the meantime, it is important to look at both the economic and social impacts. I am pleased that the Conservatives have now accepted there will need to be transitional arrangements as
negotiations are likely to take longer than 2 years, and it is important to avoid a cliff edge.

I am speaking with local businesses about what they want to see from Brexit, and will seek to act in the best interests of everyone in High Peak – however difficult that may be.