We can prevent catastrophe

Today, Parliament will begin five days of debate that should lead to a vote on Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal.

I say ‘should lead’ because the Prime Minister has delayed the vote – and extended the uncertainty and disquiet – once already. She said she wanted more time over the Christmas break to secure concessions from the European Union that would satisfy the demands of her own MPs and those of the Democratic Unionist Party.

The 35 delay hasn’t worked, but has only created a real sense of impending crisis. The government’s farcical, but very expensive, plans to deal with the catastrophe of a no-deal Brexit now include a multi-million pound contract with a firm that has no ships.

We can have no confidence at all that the government is prepared for what happens next.

The decisions we take now will set the course of our country for generations to come.

That is why, I believe, we need everyone to be involved in these decisions. The government has failed to agree a deal that its own MPs can support, let alone Parliament as a whole.

I want everyone in Liverpool Wavertree and across the country, to have a say in the momentous decision making that is in front of us.

Time is short. The cliff edge of no-deal Brexit at less than 80 days away is fast approaching.

Parliament needs to assert its authority over the government and pull the country back from the cliff edge. As we saw from the government defeat last night, there is no majority in Parliament for a no-deal Brexit and that option must be closed off immediately. It is reckless for the government to continue peddling a no-deal Brexit as an option.

The choice in front of us – Brexit on the terms agreed by the Prime Minister or continued membership of the European Union – is so important, and with Parliament so divided, that it must be put to a vote of the people.

To be absolutely clear, when the Prime Minister does bring the vote on her deal before Parliament, I will vote against it. I will oppose a no-deal Brexit and I will demand that the final decision be put to the people of our country so they get a final say.

Thank you to the hundreds of constituents who have sent emails, made phone calls, posted letters and postcards in the last few weeks. The overwhelming majority want a People’s Vote.

By working together intensely over the coming few weeks, I believe we can step back from the cliff edge and recognise the urgency of putting the deal to the people.