Brexit position statement at 19.01.20
As a proud European, I have been supporting our membership of the EU for 44 years.
My first ever vote was in 1975 to stay in the Common Market. I knew then, as I know now, that we must align ourselves with our neighbours or hand over our rights, freedoms and trade to the USA.
I never imagined that years later I would fight in a heavily Remain seat to stay within the European Union and protect the rights we have fought so hard for.
SUPPORTING EU NATIONALS
Kensington has 19,000 resident EU nationals, and around 10,000 more who come in every day for work.
In 2018 I proposed a successful Motion to Kensington & Chelsea Council to establish a specialist EU Citizens’ Advisory Service and I will continue to hold them to account on their failure to do so. As your MP I hosted three public meetings to give free specialist legal advice for EU nationals wanting to gain settled status. As local Councillor in North Ken I am planning to continue to do so while there is demand.
OUR SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY
Kensington is a hub of science and technological innovation. I support freedom of movement, including for our community of scientists, doctors and academics who work across borders from our universities and museums.
We need to continue to stay part of the EU’s scientific research funding scheme of which the UK is the main beneficiary. I also support our continued membership of Euratom, which oversees transport of radioactive materials and without which vital radiotherapy treatment for cancer may be delayed.
Kensington’s hospitality business, shops, cafes, restaurants and hotels depend upon EU workers, as do our museums and arts and cultural institutions which attract so many visitors.
The Prime Minister refused to review the Withdrawal Agreement, and his actions threaten 19,000 EU Kensington residents with border checks and having to pay for NHS treatment they have paid for through their taxes. At the time of writing in mid-January the way forward is looking hostile to our European neighbours in K&C.
This is no way to run a country which economists tell us is on the brink of recession. The government has been playing games with parliamentary sovereignty, with our employment, environmental and even our human rights, and with long-standing political agreements that maintain peace and encourage trade. There are still risks to the Good Friday Agreement with the unfounded demand to drop the Irish backstop, the protocol in the unratified Brexit withdrawal agreement, that would keep the UK in the EU customs union and Northern Ireland in the EU single market, until a solution is found to prevent a hard border
My wish for Kensington and for the country has always been to stay within the EU, reform policy that does not work for us, and spend revenue fairly across the country. If we must leave, there must be alignment as far as feasible with current arrangements for the customs union, single market, and parity for the EU nationals who our businesses, services and the NHS rely upon.