EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Peterborough MP on Brexit after she voted to remain in EU and city voted to leave

Fiona Onasanya making her maiden speech
Fiona Onasanya making her maiden speech
8
Have your say

She voted Remain in the EU referendum, but Peterborough MP Fiona Onasanya says you have to respect the will of the people.

The Labour MP for Peterborough said: “I voted Remain because for me I was looking at it with a lawyer hat on. The European Court of Human Rights, if you don’t agree with things here you have another tier to go to.

“What happens when we lose that tier, how long will it take to incorporate those European laws - some very good laws - into our own constitution?

“Likewise, I did not think things were perfect as they were. I was like ‘I would like to vote Remain, but things need to change’. So I fully understand why people turned around and said ‘we need to get out, we absolutely need to leave. This isn’t what we first signed up to. It’s moved metres away from what it was and we don’t want to be a part of that’.

“I think you have to respect the will of the people. In Peterborough 61 per cent said we wanted to leave. Now I need to make sure we are cautious but not careless with negotiations going forward.”

The priority for Ms Onasanya in the Brexit negotiations is trade and jobs.

Asked if Peterborough voted to Leave because of immigration she said she could not say what persuaded people to vote the way they did, but that managed migration is necessary.

Asked if immigration has been good for Peterborough, she replied: “I think we have benefitted from it. We get 40 per cent of our trade from the EU.”

On the St Michael’s Gate saga, which saw more than 70 households evicted from a single estate to make way for homeless people, she said: “It was absolutely outrageous. How are you making people homeless to let a company come in to get it for homeless people? It doesn’t make sense at all.”

Asked if she blamed Peterborough City Council for what happened at St Michael’s Gate - after the authority struck a deal to use the properties as temporary accommodation - she said: “I would like to look in more detail around it, but I think it’s farcical what happened.”