Put your trust in me

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Barry Gardiner MP, responding to recent media reports regarding support received from the multi-disciplinary practice law firm, Christine Lee & Co,

“Christine Lee & Co have generously supported my work as a Member of Parliament over many years since we first worked together to fight against plans to redevelop Oriental City and the loss of homes, livelihoods and community ties in Brent. The firm has enabled me to appoint a strong research support team to hold the government to account. This has always been transparently and appropriately recorded in the register of members’ interests. The Times article has revealed nothing that was not already in the public domain and they themselves admit that the secondment of staff was properly declared and state that “there is no suggestion of impropriety”.

Response to recent media reports

Barry Gardiner MP, responding to recent media reports regarding support received from the multi-disciplinary practice law firm, Christine Lee & Co,

When Theresa May became Prime Minister after the referendum she made it clear that she would not give “a running commentary” on Brexit. The Labour Party demanded parliamentary scrutiny, a white paper, a vote to trigger article 50 and a parliamentary vote on the final deal after it is negotiated. The new Prime Minister refused them all.

 The Labour Party in the House of Commons, and the Judiciary through the courts have now secured all these vital elements of democratic accountability.

The Supreme Court made it clear that the referendum vote determined that the UK would leave the European Union; but that it was for Parliament to determine how it should leave. I agree with the Supreme Court ruling. Although I voted and campaigned to remain, I am first and foremost a democrat. That means that I acknowledge that I lost the referendum vote. That means that I abide by its result even though I disagree with it. But I also agree with the Supreme Court that I must now as a Member of Parliament try to shape how we leave the EU in the best interests of the British people. That is why Labour has tabled a number of key amendments to the Bill.

64% of Labour voters across the country voted to Remain. But the majority of Labour MPs serve constituencies that voted by a majority to leave. The Labour Party is therefore presented both with a conflict of interests and a conflict of principles like no other party. In many ways we are much more representative of the divisions in the country over Brexit than any other political party. My view is that we must resolve the conflicts of principle and leave the conflicts of electoral interest to resolve themselves.

It is a uniquely valuable principle of our democracy that MPs have a special duty of care towards their constituents. We hold surgeries to deal with their individual problems and we represent them to various bodies and authorities to demand their rights. But our duty to represent our constituents does not in my view allow us to undermine the principle of democracy as a whole. I have enormous sympathy with all those of my colleagues who have wrestled with their conscience between the principle of democracy and the principle of representing their constituents but I am clear that I will respect the referendum result however much I disagree with it; and then I will try to mitigate its effects to secure the red lines that I and all my colleagues believe are so important.

Only by voting at 2nd Reading to trigger Article 50 do we move to the position where we can amend the bill and hold the Government to account to ensure: Tariff-free access to the Single Market to protect jobs and our economy, the protection of social and environmental rights, security for EU citizens currently living in the UK and a meaningful vote at a stage of the negotiations where it is still possible to change the outcome. Triggering Article 50 is only the beginning of a long process. We must and will hold the government to account every step of the way and secure an outcome that may not entirely satisfy either the 48% or the 52% but that is acceptable to the 100%. That is how democracy functions.

Finally I would ask everyone to reflect on how they would have felt if their side had won the referendum, but parliament had set aside the result and done the opposite. The anger that would be generated if politicians ignored the outcome would be immense and justified. I believe that leaving the EU will make us poorer. But undermining our own democracy would make us much poorer still.

BARRY’S STATEMENT ON TRIGGERING ARTICLE 50

When Theresa May became Prime Minister after the referendum she made it clear that she would not give “a running commentary” on Brexit. The Labour Party demanded parliamentary scrutiny, a...

 Ahead of the Prime Minister’s visit to the USA and her meeting with President Trump, Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade, Barry Gardiner MP has written to both leaders setting out the dangers of a quick trade agreement done for political purposes.

Mr Gardiner said:

“I welcome the new President’s interest in deepening the trade relations between our countries. As we leave the EU, Britain needs to expand its exports into the US market.

The Prime Minister must understand though that the US has a history in trade deals of demanding that public health, sanitary and environmental standards are reduced to US levels. This could lead to the UK being forced to accept chlorine-washed chicken, or beef raised with growth promoting hormones that the UK does not allow.

President Trump has set out his agenda very clearly. He is a protectionist and will put America First. Trade agreements must work for both parties and Theresa May needs to be careful that the rush to a quick deal is not one that undermines British Jobs and British social and environmental protections.” 

ENDS

Letter to President TrumpLetter to Prime Minister


Barry Gardiner MP, Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade, writes to Prime Minister Theresa May and US President Trump

 Ahead of the Prime Minister’s visit to the USA and her meeting with President Trump, Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade, Barry Gardiner MP has written to both leaders...


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