LETTER: MP has right to question Government over Brexit

editorial image

I am writing this in response to a comment by local ‘leave’ campaigners in a recent edition of the Derbyshire Times in which they call for Toby Perkins to “embrace” the fact that ‘leave’ won the referendum and not to interfere as a “non-governmental politician” with the Government’s Brexit agenda.

Firstly, I want to acknowledge that I accept that Chesterfield voted 60-40 to leave the European Union. I also want to pay tribute to the well organised campaign for ‘leave’, in comparison to the “muddle” of the local ‘remain’ campaign. I should know as I had some involvement.

However, that is now in the past. Brexit is happening. However, the type of Brexit is yet to be determined, even after Theresa May’s recent Lancaster House speech.

What riles me is these local ‘leave’ campaigners’ suggestions that Toby Perkins should roll over and take a vow of silence on the conduct of the Brexit process. Citing that a greater majority voted for leave than his 2015 Parliamentary vote. Again, I acknowledge these numbers. However, what I can’t accept is that he should only represent the 60 per cent that voted ‘leave’ last June. He, as the MP for Chesterfield, has the responsibility to represent all his constituents. Regardless of whether they voted ‘remain’ or ‘leave’, Labour or not.

The 40 per cent who voted ‘remain’, require that he listens to their input too. Not all of us want a hard “Up Yours Delors” Brexit, that seeks to kick over the table as we leave. Whether the local ‘leave’ campaigners, like it or not we still have to trade and co-operate with our European neighbours.

I would also like to point out that Toby Perkins, as part of the official opposition, has a duty to scrutinise the Government over how it pursues Brexit. Amendments and questions in debates are part of the Parliamentary process, a process for which the ‘leave’ campaign was so determined to regain its sovereignty from bureaucratic Brussels.

Also, as a member state has never left the European Union there is no precedent for this. So, shouldn’t we make sure that this process is done properly and with the appropriate scrutiny to guarantee that we don’t have a “regrexit” and have a deal that pleases no-one.

In conclusion, whether it’s hard or soft Brexit, Toby has the right as our Parliamentary representative to argue, challenge and scrutinise this Government.

So, ‘leave’ or ‘remain’, both sides should be represented in this debate and ensure that we have a proper Brexit. Not a regrexit.

Matthew Genn

By email