Brexit realities begin to bite – Jonathan's Herald Column

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I was delighted to have the opportunity to ask a formal Prime Ministers Question on Wednesday so soon after the election.

The great irony of our age is that since voting to leave the European Union, Westminster politics is going to be completely dominated by Brexit for the duration of this Parliament and the fallout I suspect may go well beyond.

With reports that senior Civil Servants have had to sit down Government Ministers and explain to them like naughty pupils that there is no such thing as a ‘have your cake and eat it’ Brexit – I challenged the Prime Minister on whether she was putting her own absolutist position (as stated by James Chapman, former Chief of Staff for the Brexit Secretary of State David Davis) before people's jobs and wages. It wasn’t really a question as we all know that in deciding to abandon Single Market and Customs Union membership, a so called extreme Brexit, the British Government by the Treasury’s own figures is going to cost £66billion per annum in revenues.

After seven years in Westminster I am no longer surprised to see the Tories on the most important policy of the day being led by dogmatic ideology. More surprising is the full support offered to Theresa May by the Labour party.

One of our first votes in this Parliament was a ‘rebel amendment’ on the Queen’s Speech calling for the Government to maintain membership of the Single Market and the Customs Union in order to minimise the economic damage of Brexit. I was amazed to see the Labour party whip its members against the amendment. 49 brave souls defied Jeremy Corbyn who promptly sacked all front bench rebels.

Whilst the Tories rejoice in a future of splendid isolationism, Corbyn’s opposition is driven by his belief that the Single Market is some sort of neo-liberal conspiracy aimed at destroying public control over services and utilities. His arguments would be persuasive if it were not for the fact that other European countries such as Germany and France have managed to retain full public ownership of their railways and energy companies.

This is the defining issue of this Parliament. 200,000 jobs in Wales are sustained by the Single Market Membership. My colleagues in Plaid Cymru will be doing everything we can to protect those jobs over the coming months and years. I hope that in future votes, more MPs will vote with the best interest of their constituents in mind as opposed to what their lightweight party Leaders tell them to do.


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