Burnley MP Julie Cooper column: Egos need to be put to one side for the sake of Brexit
For months now, even years, Brexit has dominated every aspect of life in the UK; every debate in Parliament, every boardroom meeting, every staff room - and has been the main subject of conversation at social gatherings and across millions of dinner tables.
And it’s not over yet, far from it and there is no one more exasperated about this, than I am.
The vast majority of MPs, irrespective of political party, voted to trigger Article 50, to commence the arrangements for the UK to leave the EU following the Referendum result.
MPs put aside their personal preferences and rolled up their sleeves, to set about extricating the UK from a ‘marriage’ of over 45 years.
I did not know at the beginning the finer details of what exactly that would involve, nor I believe did anyone else.
I did though imagine, that it would not be an easy process but that didn’t put me off. I have never been one to shy away from a tough job and in fact when people say something won’t be easy, it makes me more determined to get stuck in.
This has been my approach with Brexit: the more I have delved into the detail of getting out of the EU, the more complex it has appeared, but I have stuck with it; determined to keep my Election commitments and honour the Referendum result.
Some people have said I am wrong to do that, but I spelt out clearly ahead of the June 17th election what my approach would be and I have not wavered. Even though the process is complex, it was entirely possible for the UK to be fully ready to leave the EU on March 29th.
That day is now upon us and we are not even close to being ready and there is just one person to blame for this situation and that person is the Prime Minister, Theresa May.
Her style throughout, has been more like that of a dictator than of a Prime Minister and this must change.
World wars have been fought to protect our democracy and I know many people voted to leave the EU so that our country could be ruled by the British Parliament instead of the European Parliament.
Our democracy is who we are; it is very precious and Theresa May has totally disrespected it at every stage.
Even now, she clings to personal power whilst our country is going through the biggest crisis in our history since World War Two.
I say this in all honesty, not as a Labour MP but as a Member of the UK Parliament. My view is shared by members from all political parties and that includes at least 100 Conservative MPs.
In light of all this, I was disgusted by the Prime Minister’s comments in last week’s TV broadcast where she sought to blame everyone else but herself.
This was not an act of leadership but a final desperate rant from a failed Prime Minister. She, not MPs, is now the single biggest obstacle to Brexit.
It is time for egos to be put aside and for her to go in order that we can move forward and sort this mess and, without her, we will.
Working on the detail of Brexit related legislation has taken much of my time recently and has kept me in Parliament for more days than usual.
I was really sorry not to be able to attend the vigil held in the Peace Garden last Friday in honour of those who were brutally slaughtered in Christchurch, New Zealand. I will always stand in total solidarity with all those who promote peace and harmony in the face of violent political, religious and racial intolerance.
I commend the organisers of this vigil and the hundreds of people who gathered to pay their respects.
I did fortunately manage to return to Burnley in time to hold my advice surgery for constituents over the weekend. My next MP’s surgery will be on Saturday April 6th from 10am - noon in my Constituency office at 8 Keirby Walk, Burnley.
No appointments are necessary and people attending will be seen on a first come first served basis.
Alternatively email me at [email protected] or call 01282 425744.
The constituency office opens Mon-Fri from 10am - 4pm (half day Tuesday) where my staff will do their best to assist you and keep me informed of the issues you raise.