Following my beliefs in EU vote

Ronnie Campbell MP
Picture by Jane Coltman
Ronnie Campbell MP Picture by Jane Coltman

It really pained me to vote against the Labour whip the other day to rebel against a party which, under Jeremy Corbyn, I otherwise support to the hilt.

But the issue of Brexit legislation is crucial for the well-being of north east families and on this one occasion Jeremy got it wrong.

I have always been in favour of leaving the European Union and voted for what I believed.

The EU has always been a capitalist club, and my constituents voted to leave in last year’s referendum.

Jeremy ordered his MPs to vote against the bill because although Labour backs Brexit following the 2016 EU referendum, he is worried that it gives Tory government ministers the power to change some laws without consulting parliament.

I share that concern, which is why I voted for an amendment proposed by him criticising the bill as a power grab.

But once that amendment fell, I felt I had no option other than to vote for the overall legislation because that is what the people voted for.

I was not alone, but the majority of my comrades toed the line.

I am a leaver through and through, and I always have been.

MPs are elected, unlike the EU bureaucrats, and if people don’t like how MPs vote then they can get rid of us, and that’s how it should work.

The European Union (Withdrawal Bill) prevents EU institutions from having any authority in the UK after Brexit. It means EU laws can no longer be enforced here, but it also makes existing EU laws part of UK law. Again, that is what the people voted for.

The government has been dragging its feet on Brexit. It should now get on with it.

And we on the Labour benches should get back to the business of holding the government to account over its blitz on the poor and vulnerable, young and old, while feather-bedding fat cats with tax cuts for the super-rich.

I’m always happiest slamming the Tories.