Mick Scrimshaw: Where I stand on Brexit

By Mick Scrimshaw on May 9, 2017

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Several people have asked my views about Brexit. It is well known that I voted to remain mainly because I was concerned about any economic ramifications of the decision. This remains my main focus, but more than anything I am a democrat. The decision to leave the EU was taken last year and that is what will happen! But there are of course complicated discussions needed as to exactly how this will happen.

I am pleased therefore that this is the view Labour have taken nationally and press reports seem to indicate that we would also try to remain in the single market if at all possible which is a stance I would support because of my concerns about any economic consequences. This will at least give people a clear choice of the type of Brexit they want to see.

Personally I feel it’s a shame it has come to this, and clearly the General Election is about trying to increase the government’s majority to make it easier to push for whatever sort of deal they eventually decide.

I am worried by this because as much as I sometimes despair of the House of Commons and the sometimes childish behaviour of some MPs during debates (on both sides), having a good cross section of opinions on this issue is vital to ensure we get an agreement that will be fit for purpose for the long-term.

Brexit is far too important in my opinion to be the property of one political party and the whims of their electoral position at the time. The consequences of how we leave the EU will have ramifications for decades to come and I worry that the Government is trying to use the issue for their own short-term gain. With that said, I personally think not being in the single market has the potential to be a huge economic gamble.

Although obviously the sticking point for many people will be the free movement of people, I read a report the other day which spoke of a genuine worry from the agricultural industry. The concern is that crops may end up rotting in fields because of the difficulty they are having hiring foreign workers following the referendum.

We've also seen reports over the last few days of manufacturers moving from the UK to Poland, and of banks in the City of London making plans to move staff to mainland Europe which can’t be a good thing.

The other side to this argument of course, is that the government, who are determined to leave the single market, may not be able to negotiate as good enough deal for business as they hope and that the free movement of people may well be tied to that deal anyway, in which case we could end up with the worst of both worlds.

I suspect we have a long way to go and it would seem that my party’s overall view is similar to mine in that not having the expertise and experience of all members of Parliament as part of these negotiations, while perhaps making things simpler, may not actually help bring about the best long term agreement.

I hope that politicians on all sides can work sensibly together to ensure the best result for the country moving forward.

Photo by TheFriendlyFiend

Mick Scrimshaw is the Leader of the Labour Group at Kettering Borough Council, the Shadow Cabinet Member for Finance at Northamptonshire County Council. He has a public record of standing up for Kettering as a County Councillor for the Northall division in Kettering, Northants and since May 2015, a Borough Councillor for the William Knibb ward. He is a keen cyclist and also runs a family business with his wife.

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