Burnley MP Julie Cooper column: Terrible Brexit deal deserved to be heavily defeated

The Governments Brexit deal voted down by a majority of 232
The Governments Brexit deal voted down by a majority of 232

I write this column in the aftermath of the Government’s historic defeat.

Last night Theresa May and the Conservative Government were defeated in the voting lobbies of Westminster.

Never in the history of our country has a serving Prime Minister been so heavily defeated in Parliament.

The crucial point is that this defeat, which saw the Government’s Brexit deal voted down by a majority of 232, is that this cannot be described in anyway as being about Party politics: this spectacular defeat was only possible because 118 Conservative MPs voted against their own Prime Minister.

The fact is that for two and half years Theresa May has been more concerned with pleasing the warring factions within her own party than securing a credible Brexit deal.

As a result, the deal, which was hastily cobbled together in the last few months, had no arrangements for trade, no protections for jobs or workers, no plan for regulating the movement of people and no plan to end UK payments to the EU.

In short it was a terrible deal and it really is no wonder that it was so heavily defeated and what made it even worse was that we would have been tied into it.

Never in our history has the UK ever signed up to a Treaty that it could not get out of. For myself I had no hesitation in voting against this bad deal.

I never thought that I would be in the same voting lobby as Boris Johnson and other leading Brexiteers, but on Tuesday night I was. I did not vote to stop Brexit.

I did not vote for a no deal. I voted against Theresa May’s hopeless deal. I actually, felt quite sorry for her at the end because she has tried hard, but sympathy is no reason to vote for something that is so poor.

Now quite rightly everyone is asking: What happens next? What’s Labour’s plan? If the Government wins the vote of no confidence and it is likely that it will, then Parliament must immediately come together to prevent a `no deal` in the same way that it came together to defeat a bad deal.

This must then be followed by cross party working, to agree the framework for a decent deal.

Labour has been chomping at the bit for two years, offering help at every stage and being rebutted at every stage, by a Prime Minister who insisted on being in the driving seat alone.

The time for cross party working is long overdue but it must come now – better late than never.

I did not come into Parliament to spend all my time working on the future of the European Union and I know that everyone including myself is sick and tired of the seemingly endless talk of Brexit but it is important to remember that the final deal will impact on everything that does matter to everyone in Burnley and Padiham and it will affect our lives for good or for bad.

In all my work I never lose sight of the fact that the people who voted for me wanted me to focus on their living standards, their security, their health and well-being and the future for their children and grandchildren and a better planet for the future of the world and all these issues inform my thoughts on Brexit.

There is a lot of stake and I want to assure you that I am as committed as I ever was to work for the best interests of Burnley and Padiham. ​

If you need my assistance with any matter please email julie.cooper.mp@parliament.uk or call the constituency office on 01282 425744.

To speak to me in person, come along to my next MP’s surgery on 26th January in Tesco Extra Burnley from 10am-12pm.

My constituency office at 8 Keirby Walk, Burnley is open to the public next week from 10am-4pm on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday and from 10am-1:30pm on Friday.

My staff will do their very best to help you and pass on to me the issues which you raise.