Mike Hill MP: It was a difficult decision to vote and allow PM's Brexit deal to second reading

Last week the Town lost one of its greatest ambassadors. Alan Chapman who was the Head of the Hartlepool Aspire Trust sadly passed away aged 67.

Thursday, 24th October 2019, 10:00 am
Updated Thursday, 24th October 2019, 11:00 am
Pro-Brexit and anti-Brexit protesters hold flags as they demonstrate outside the Houses of Parliament.

The Education Trust, which he built up, comprised of Catcote Academy, Catcote Futures and Catcote Sixth Form College; a nationally renowned and multi-award winning group specialising in SEND education.

Alan was a good friend and a person who I had the highest respect for. He was a true influencer and visionary in the world of special educational needs and his work gained national recognition, but he was a local lad first and foremost whose only priority was the well being and education of children and young people, and to give them a future; which Catcote does so well.

On Tuesday I made the difficult decision to vote to allow the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal to pass its second reading and go to committee stage where it could be properly scrutinised and amended.

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No Labour MP likes going through the lobbies with the Tories, but I was swayed by a number of factors, chief amongst them being the manifesto pledge in 2017 which promised to deliver Brexit with a deal.

I was grateful for all the emails I received in the run up to the vote from constituents on both sides of the argument, but there has been no narrative to demonstrate that there is now a majority in Hartlepool who have changed their mind on Brexit.

After two years of frustrating and largely meaningless debate it is time for rational compromise. I do not agree with the substance of Boris Johnson’s Bill; it is far worse than Theresa May’s, but it is there to be amended to reinforce workers’ rights, environmental protections, protect business and trade with a customs union like arrangement, prevent the Good Friday Agreement and prevent a severe economic hit to the economy of our region.

If this Bill is not substantially amended before the final vote, I will not support it; that is why I voted against the Programme Motion, which looked to compress the passage of the Bill, suppress proper scrutiny and discussion and limit the passage of the Bill to just three days. More time was always going to be needed on such an important piece of legislation and I felt it right and proper to vote against the Government on that point.

People are fed up of Brexit, there is no doubt about it, but, as I have always said, no deal would be an economic disaster and I will do all that I can to prevent it. As MPs we need to bring this crisis and political malaise to an end so we can get on with tackling those important issues which have been neglected throughout the Brexit process; issues which are affecting the everyday lives of Hartlepool people like the decimation of our public services including the NHS.