Peterborough MP Fiona Onasanya: Theresa May’s ‘botched’ Brexit deal will not help us thrive

Last week, the government finally announced their draft withdrawal agreement to leave the European Union. Over two years on from the original vote, it is fair to say that the Prime Minister and the government have had more than enough time to negotiate – to get this right.

While figuring out how to leave the EU is unquestionably complex, it appears that the Prime Minister has failed on her own terms, and crosses the red lines she has previously set herself.

Fiona Onasanya

Fiona Onasanya

What has the government brought the British people after years of painstaking negotiations? Chaos, a raft of Cabinet resignations and a botched deal that many people who voted Leave feel does not take back control. In fact, according to YouGov, only 20% of the British public actually support this half-baked deal the Prime Minister has cooked up, and it wouldn’t surprise me if only 20% of the Prime Minister’s own Cabinet do as well.

Forgive me for being cynical, but I cannot put faith in this deal when the second man who was meant to be negotiating it, former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, had to resign because he couldn’t support what was proposed in it.

The shambles of these Brexit negotiations have gone on for long enough: indefinite backstop, extended transition period, no significant mention of state aid, worker’s rights or environmental protections. I am concerned that the lack of attention given to these matters means that the government’s idea of post-Brexit Britain is simply a race to the bottom. It’s evident to me that their priority has always been surviving instead of thriving – and this ignores one of the main reasons people voted to leave the European Union: national renewal.

Moreover, Home Office Minister Nick Hurd MP has admitted that the government’s current Brexit position would actually undermine our national security and be a ‘step back’ for the country.

Continued cooperation with the European Union in this area is vital, as is maintaining access to European databases that can help us tackle cross-border crime and terrorist threats.

It is becoming increasingly clear that this is a deal which satisfies nobody. The Tory Brexiteers are up in arms trying to organise a coup against the Prime Minister, while the deal negotiated does not meet my party’s six tests that any Brexit deal should pass. Surely, this document is a damning indictment of the Prime Minister’s failure to negotiate a deal that will help us thrive and prosper post-Brexit?

If the PM cannot come up with a deal that warrants the support of Parliament: then she must give someone else the opportunity to do so. In the last few months, I have received correspondence regarding a ‘People’s Vote’, but in my opinion, a real People’s Vote would be a General Election – a chance to put things right, and implement a Brexit that works for the many, not the few.