Wigan MP Lisa Nandy has explained why she will not be supporting the Brexit withdrawal agreement in next week’s crunch vote.
In her column for our sister paper the Wigan Observer, Ms Nandy says the document thrashed out after negotiations between the Government and European Union (EU) gives too little certainty on the UK’s future.
She acknowledged the difficulty of finding consensus over the issue but said it was vital Brexit benefits areas like Wigan which has struggled in recent years.
However, she also outlined the huge risks of the UK walking away with no deal.
Ms Nandy said: “There are two visions of the future on offer. One path allows us to retain close ties with the EU, committing to high wages and standards.
“The other path leaves Britain locked permanently into a low-wage, low-regulation economy like China or the USA, where power resides with lowly-taxed multi-national corporations and local communities are left powerless.
“We cannot trade with both on different terms. We have to choose.
“The challenge is to bring skilled, secure and well-paid jobs back to Wigan.
“If we follow a path where wages fall through the floor, jobs offer few opportunities, and the health and safety laws that have cut deaths and serious injuries in towns like ours are axed, the future for Wigan will be bleak.
“That is why I will vote against the Prime Minister’s withdrawal agreement next week and urge her to come clean about what she intends.
“No deal would put pensions, savings and thousands of jobs in food production in Wigan at risk.
“I have had hundreds of emails from constituents calling for no trade deal with the EU.
“I have also had a similar number of requests to back this agreement and others seeking a second referendum or to cancel Brexit and remain in the EU.
“Parliament is divided because the public are divided.
“I believe it is in our interest to try to find a pragmatic solution that honours the result of the referendum, protects jobs and enables us to move on.
“It might mean seeking a short extension to the Article 50 process. But we need to be honest: there are no options now that do not come with a cost.”