Since the result of the European Union referendum was announced, I have been contacted by many constituents about what the future now holds for our country.
I campaigned for Britain to remain a leading member of the EU, because I think our country is stronger, safer and better off in Europe.
I understand the serious concerns people have about leaving the European Union, particularly the effects this decision could have on people’s jobs, our wages and our living standards.
Since the result, the pound has plummeted, there has been turmoil in the financial markets and some companies have said they may not be willing to invest in our economy and help create jobs and boost growth. Shockingly, hate crime reports to the police against immigrant communities have also shot up by over 42% since Thursday 23rd June – the date of the referendum. I know you will join me in condemning these racist acts.
There have been calls for a second referendum on our membership of the EU, because of these events. I do have some sympathy with this view, however, the country has spoken and the majority of people who voted wanted to leave. We have a responsibility to roll up our sleeves and get on with the job of making this situation work, because we now face one of the most complex and difficult challenges of modern times and the new Prime Minister has made it clear that the Government will move ahead with the Brexit negotiations.
Before Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty is triggered - which starts the formal, two year negotiation process for leaving the EU – we must have a clear idea of what we want to achieve. Britain must be well prepared for these negotiations in order to secure the best possible deal for our long term future, to protect our public services and to build a new relationship with our European friends. It is very important that all parties and the Mayor of London are included in this process.
We also need to build public support across the country for a fairer immigration system. As my colleague and the former Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper MP, has said “unless we face and deal with deep divisions across Britain in attitudes to immigration we will see growing problems in our communities regardless of the outcome of the negotiations with the EU.”
As your MP I will be doing all I can to ensure that Britain, outside the European Union, remains a fair, outward looking country, which stands up for equality and social justice at home and abroad.