A new year has begun, but there is nothing new on the table as far as Brexit is concerned, as once again MPs prepare to debate and vote on May’s desperate deal. Indeed to coin one of Theresa May’s phrases, you could say, “nothing has changed.”
My colleagues from other countries in the European Parliament continue to be bewildered as May dangerously lets the clock run down.
There has been plenty of activity but no resolution. We have seen a cancelled Parliamentary vote, a Tory leadership confidence vote and a European council summit that achieved precisely nothing apart from learning that Jean Claude Junker thinks Theresa May is “nebulous”.
The no-confidence vote came the day after a terrorist had shot dead five people in the centre of Strasbourg. He was still on the run and a massive police operation was underway. As the European Parliament lowered the EU flag and the French flag to half mast, we stood in silence in the Chamber and as happens quite frequently now, this particular act of Tory self indulgence was hardly given a moment’s notice by my European colleagues – there are other things happening.
But as I said in the European Parliament Chamber this is a terrible deal. We going from helping make the rules, to just abiding by them. There is a £39 billion divorce bill but huge decisions about the future are left unanswered. We will be out of the customs unions, out of Galileo, lose rights to travel freely for work and leisure and farmers face a shortage of seasonal workers.
Whichever way people voted two years ago, nobody voted for this shambles, mess and turmoil.
So when MPs finally get to vote, I hope they vote the deal down. Our EU membership makes us stronger, more prosperous and more connected. No one should go in to politics to make our country weaker, poorer and more isolated. The time to fight back is now.