Misgivings over Brexit strategy

Ronnie Campbell, MP for Blyth Valley.
Ronnie Campbell, MP for Blyth Valley.

Unlike many of my Labour comrades, I voted for Brexit, and in the Commons I will vote to trigger Article 50.

What we can all agree on, however, is our misgivings about the way Theresa May is handling the exit process.

Europe needs total reform, with freedom of movement and more control given to elected MEPs. A good start would be to sack EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker. I believe that he and his colleagues are too entrenched in their ways and Europe needs a good wash-out. States must decide their own freedom of movement and establish a trading of nations, rather than the unelected making crucial decisions.

Why is it that Europe can put tariffs on the UK, but the UK cannot place tariffs on the EU? It should be a two-way street. Britain appears to be hated within the EU and I fear we will never get a good deal from it. It is too powerful and too demanding.

Now Nissan is looking again at future investment at its Sunderland plant in light of the prime minister’s Brexit strategy. Despite our differences on Brexit, I was happy to sign a letter to Mrs May, written by Phil Wilson on behalf of North East MPs.

It said: “It will not escape the country’s notice that Nissan’s investment in Sunderland was secured last year on a promise to maintain the status quo and it is now jeopardised by your embrace of a hard Brexit.

“Your decision, for which there is no mandate, has therefore cast doubt over thousands of jobs across the north east; over the future of the UK as an attractive destination for global investors; and over our position as a global leader in advanced manufacturing.

“In deciding to remove the UK from the single market and customs union you have decided to erect trade barriers – whether in the form of tariffs or new regulatory hurdles – between the UK and the half-billion-strong EU marketplace, our largest trading partner.”

We are awaiting her reply.