Paul Williams, MP for Stockton South, stood for election in 2017 with a promise to deliver a Brexit that would “protect local jobs, NHS and create new opportunities for the Teesside economy”. He was one of nearly 50 Labour MPs who supported the UK staying in the single market and customs union after the withdrawal from the European Union on March 30, 2019. But Mr Williams, whose constituency was among the areas who voted to leave in the 2016 EU referendum, is worried Theresa May’s Brexit deal is already negatively affecting people’s jobs.
Mr Williams explained jobs and the economy in areas such as Teesside, in the north-east of England, are dependant on trade with EU countries.
He said: “Half of the north-east service exports and goods worth more than £2,500 per person each year are sold to the EU.
“This means most trade unions, businesses and industry do not want to leave the single market and the customs union.
“People didn’t vote to leave the EU to lose jobs, lose rights at work and become poorer.”
Mrs May’s deal says the Irish backstop, the final insurance policy to avoid a hard border in Ireland, would see the UK in a single customs territory with the EU.
But the Prime Minister’s plans for the backstop resulted in resignations of senior cabinet and junior ministers and she delayed a Commons vote on her deal over fears of a major defeat.
This decision led to a vote of no confidence from a third of Parliamentarians, which she won last week.
Mr Williams is growing concerned about how the uncertainty over the Bexit deal is costing people in the north east their jobs and is pushing for a people’s vote after Theresa May “changed her mind” about the Commons vote.
He said to Express.co.uk: “The only thing we can rely on this Government for is chaos. I was planning to oppose the Prime Minister’s deal until she cancelled the vote because I simply can’t support any deal which threatens my constituent’s jobs.
“If the Prime Minister can change her mind about whether or not to allow Parliament a vote, why won’t she acknowledge that people have changed their minds too?
“I was on the streets of Yarm and Thornaby this weekend. It was clear that now we know what Brexit actually looks like – as opposed to the fantasy described during the referendum – many people see this very differently. The majority of people in Teesside now want a final say.
“Parliament is in deadlock and the Government can’t govern. We need to give the public a final say with a People’s Vote before the Prime Minister has a chance to embarrass our country even further.”
Mrs May said the Commons would have the chance to debate her Withdrawal Agreement in the week MPs return to Westminster after Christmas on January 7.
The Commons vote will then take place the following week.
Mrs May said today: “It is now only just over 14 weeks until the UK leaves the EU and I know many members of this House are concerned that we need to take a decision soon.”
But Mr Corbyn set a motion of no confidence, which is directed at Mrs May rather than the Government, for not offering MPs a chance to have their say before Christmas.