Why I could not support Boris Johnson’s ‘sell out’ Brexit deal - MP for Peterborough Lisa Forbes

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At the second reading of Johnson’s Withdrawal Bill on Tuesday, I voted against it. Not because I wish to overturn the referendum result, or ignore the wishes of my constituents and the 52 per cent who voted to Leave, but because it is a fundamentally bad deal for Peterborough and the country, writes MP for Peterborough Lisa Forbes in her weekly column.

I have always considered myself a democrat. During the by-election, I said I’d support a deal that protects people’s jobs, working conditions, the environment and the wider economy from any lasting damage. That is a position that has not changed during my time as your MP. Simply put, I refuse to vote for a deal that would make the people of Peterborough poorer.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivering a statement in the House of Commons to update it on his new Brexit deal. Photo: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/PA Wire

Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivering a statement in the House of Commons to update it on his new Brexit deal. Photo: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/PA Wire

This is a sell-out deal that is even worse than Theresa May’s botched Brexit deal. Instead of taking back control, he is handing it away to US corporations who would drag our food standards down and seek involvement in our NHS.

While Johnson has offered lip-service on the environment and workers’ rights to try and convince some Labour MPs to back his deal, his lip-service is not good enough for me. Given his track record, I cannot trust a word that Boris Johnson says.

This is a man that said he’d rather be ‘dead in a ditch’ than ask the European Union for an extension. He asked them for an extension.

This is a man who promised to ‘lie in front of bulldozers’ to stop the third runway at Heathrow Airport. He abstained on the vote.

This is a man who in 2016, prior to the referendum said that “I would vote to stay in the single market. I’m in favour of the single market.” He’s now about to crash us out of it, putting thousands of jobs at risk. The reality is that he will do or say anything for a whiff of power.

Meanwhile, GMB research has shown that there are 5,000 manufacturing jobs in Peterborough that could be impacted by leaving a customs union with the European Union. Previous analysis has shown that being outside of the customs union will make cities like Peterborough poorer. I will listen to unions and business leaders over the political chameleon that is our Prime Minister any day of the week.

I understand that people are frustrated with Parliament and our political system at present, but I am sure that those people will understand that I entered politics to improve the lives of people in Peterborough and was elected on that pledge. By any metric, the Prime Minister’s deal does not do that.

Now, the government is flying blind by refusing to release any impact assessments on what Johnson’s deal would do to our economy. A deal prioritising jobs, workers’ rights and the economy was possible from the start. Instead, successive Conservative governments have failed to deliver it.

I respect the result of the 2016 referendum, but I refuse to respect this bogus deal from a bogus Prime Minister.