Rachael Maskell: Only a second Brexit vote can end uncertainty

NEARLY three years ago, none of us knew what the Prime Minister’s deal with the EU would look like.

PIC: Simon Hulme
PIC: Simon Hulme

We heard a lot of conflicting promises at the time.

On January 15, the House of Commons had its first opportunity to vote on the deal that Theresa May had negotiated with the EU. MPs rejected it by a majority of 230 votes (432 votes against to 202 votes for), the largest defeat in the history of Parliament.

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She had negotiated a very poor outcome, with no guarantees over our future trade and jobs, no guarantees about our environment or rights and putting the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland at risk through the creation of new trade borders.

Rachael Maskell is the Labour MP for York Central.

Since, we have not made progress in Parliament.

We have voted to stop a ‘no-deal’ scenario, however this was not legally binding and is being ignored by the Prime Minister.

We can now compare the current deal we have with the EU, with this new deal.

In the light of the Parliamentary gridlock, I believe that the only way to resolve this situation is to put the option of these two deals back to the people across the country to have a final say.

Should there be a second referendum over Brexit?

I was hoping that this scenario could have been avoided, but it is evident that Mrs May’s failure to secure a way forward, just four weeks before we are due to leave the EU, now requires a mandate from the country.

Since her deal was defeated in January, the Prime Minister has brought the same deal back to Parliament time and time again without changing her negotiating ‘red lines’.

We have seen three months of prevarication and delay in Westminster as we have had decisions delayed and votes pulled at the last minute.

In going to the country, this will conclude the matter once and for all.

I understand those who are concerned about a further referendum.

However it is my conclusion that this is the only way to resolve this gridlock and will prevent us falling into a ‘no-deal’ scenario, which, as business has already told us, will have a catastrophic impact on trade and jobs.

This will put an end to the uncertainty which all of us are experiencing, whether our jobs are at stake, whether food prices are rising, or most importantly if you are a UK citizen residing in the EU or an EU citizen residing in the UK, over your future.

Everyone has the right to confirm their vote or change their mind.

This is what happens at all general elections; this is democracy.

As I have consistently done, I will follow the mandate that York gives me.

To those who feel that Europe and politics has failed them, I say this: I believe that people have been badly failed by politics, at every level – Europe, Westminster and locally. It is time for a complete change in focus. We have to end the poverty, the lack of housing, the poor health and care services and secure good jobs.

For those starting out in life, we have to give each child every opportunity to succeed, and for those in later life, we must ensure that the very best assistance and care is available.

I came into politics because I saw it wasn’t working for everyone.

Leaving the EU will not resolve these issues, but a change in politics will.

Rachael Maskell is the Labour MP for York Central and Shadow Rail Minister.