As many of you will be aware, this week in Parliament has been very divisive with a lot of important questions about our future relationship with the European Union still unanswered. For the second time in as many months, May’s deal was defeated by a resounding majority showing that she cannot force our backs to the wall over her poor deal. I hope she learns from this and doesn’t insult the House of Commons by seeking to bring the deal back a third time.

Many MPs are calling for the Speaker to block her from doing this under an old protocol. But in the spirit of fairness, many of those MPs should accept that the same goes for a motion on a second referendum which was also defeated this week with a resounding majority and not for the first time. We cannot have one rule for the Government and another for everybody else. We need to move on from both options.

My postbag has been full of a range of views this week, as ever, showing that Hartlepudlians are still divided on Brexit. To those who say I am betraying my constituents by refusing No Deal, I say this. I was elected in 2017, one year on from the referendum, on a manifesto that promised a Brexit with a deal. More than half of the people who voted in Hartlepool voted for that Labour manifesto. Further to that, the Conservative Party, which came second in Hartlepool, also promised a Brexit with a deal in the 2017 election.

The referendum in 2016 did not specify any particular kind of Brexit, No Deal or otherwise, but, one year later, around 86% of the people who voted in Hartlepool in that election backed a manifesto that promised a deal. I am fulfilling my obligation to the future prosperity of Hartlepool by rejecting a situation which every economic forecast shows would make the average household poorer and harm jobs in industry. Even the most optimistic report from the NIESR shows we would need time to make significant contingency plans in the unlikely event of a legal default to No Deal.

I hope that in the coming weeks, the House of Commons will be able to find a path that unites us all. I will be continuing to vote in the consistent way that I have so far. I broke my party’s whip to vote against a permanent customs union, I will continue to fight against a second referendum and I will never vote for any option that is simply “remain in all but name”.

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