Phil Wilson MP outlines his disappointment following Brexit, but says we must all now move forward…
Britain has voted to leave the European Union. Having passionately campaigned for a Remain vote, I, like many, am deeply disappointed by the result and concerned about the impact of this decision on our region and our country.
Britain’s fragile economy has already begun to feel the effects of a Brexit vote. I worry what this will mean for businesses and jobs in the North-East, especially when over half of the 11,000 jobs on the Newton Aycliffe industrial estate rely on EU trade in some way.
As the UK enters into a long period of economic uncertainty, business leaders throughout the UK are withdrawing or postponing future investment as they consider whether Britain remains the most attractive option to start or expand their business.
As the clarifications and back-tracking have begun, I fear that some voters may have based their decision on the half-baked lies and wanton mistruths of the Vote Leave campaign.
Within hours of the result, Nigel Farage disowned a pledge to spend the £350 million we supposedly send to the EU each week on the NHS. Days later, this was followed by Iain Duncan Smith who denied promising this during the course of the campaign at all, despite this claim being emblazoned on the Vote Leave bus.
Don’t forget it was this figure which was spent countless times over by the Leave campaign on anything from the NHS to agriculture to regional development. Moreover, after months of telling voters that a vote to leave the EU would enable Britain to control immigration, Leave campaigners, such as the Conservative MEP Daniel Hannen, have now admitted that voters expecting immigration to fall significantly would be ‘disappointed’.
Sadly, these misleading claims which unsurprisingly have since been removed from Vote Leave’s website do little to restore voters’ faith in a political system which is increasingly considered broken.
This has been a long, gruelling and divisive campaign. Yet, the British people have spoken, with the majority of voters supporting a leave vote.
However disappointed voters may be by the result, and however regretful some may be for the way they voted, it would be disrespectful and undemocratic to simply hold the same referendum again.
Now we must respect the outcome and move forward with the challenging task of negotiating Britain’s exit from the EU and healing the rifts caused by the campaign.
We must hold the Leave campaigners’ feet to the fire for the promises they have made throughout the referendum campaign and work to secure the best possible deal, not just for the UK, but especially the North East.
Phil Wilson MP