Brexit will damage the country, says Ann Clwyd
VETERAN Welsh MP Ann Clwyd is getting stuck into one more epic battle as she makes the case that her party should oppose Brexit.
The 80-year-old Cynon Valley MP was re-elected last month with a majority of 13,238 and she is adamant that leaving the EU will be bad news for her constituents.
Ms Clwyd originally opposed British membership but served as an MEP and is now convinced that the country should change its mind about leaving the 28-member union.
Labour’s manifesto stated the party “accepts the referendum result” and committed it to building “a close co-operative future relationship with the EU, not as members but as partners”.
However, Ms Clwyd wants her party to now oppose Brexit.
She said: “It is perfectly legitimate to oppose any course of action that will be bad for Britain, that damages our economy and destroys jobs. And all the evidence is it’s going to do precisely that.”
Making the case for a bold change in position, she said: “We should not go along with what is turning out to be a Conservative catastrophe. If we’re told there are acute worries in manufacturing, in farming, universities, aviation, hospitals and energy and elsewhere, then we should distance ourselves from such a disaster now.
“Labour has already said it won’t vote for a Brexit settlement that fails to secure exactly the same benefits as we have now in relation to the European single market. The likelihood of achieving that is miniscule.
“That is likely to be one of the many major failures. Labour has already made it clear that such a scenario would be a catastrophe but I feel we should be making it clear now that we oppose Brexit full stop.”
Ms Clwyd argues that “in a democracy it’s always possible for people to think again and choose another direction”.
Labour would be attacked for rejecting the referendum result if it backed staying in the EU, but Ms Clwyd said: “[It] was an advisory vote won by a very narrow majority on the basis of what turned out to be a pack of lies”.
She claimed people are increasingly aware of “falling living standards, rising inflation, slowing growth and lower productivity”.
Labour MPs who want such a significant change in policy can expect strong opposition.
Former Europe Minister and Labour MP Caroline Flint last week called on her party to “move on” and “embrace Brexit and build policies that meet the challenge”.
In the text of a speech for the Policy Exchange think tank, she said: “We need to be straight with people on Brexit. We know [Theresa] May called the election on the lie that the opposition parties would block Brexit. Yet only 114 MPs had voted not to trigger Article 50. And Jeremy [Corbyn] said at the outset of the election, the issue of Britain leaving was settled.
“Now May has lost a majority, we cannot change tack, or try to suggest that anything less than full membership of the single market and customs union is a hard Brexit.
“Those who aim to keep us in the single market know full well that this is EU membership in all but name.
“We cannot spend the next 18 months voting down every one of the Tories EU Bills. If we do so, we will look like liars.” Choose from an extensive range of Bailey caravans designed and styled to suit a wide variety of price ranges. Every one of our caravans offers the core values of first class build quality, award winning design and unbeatable value for money. LARGE SELECTION OF PRE-OWNED CARAVANS FINANCE • LOW DEPOSIT • UP TO 10 YEARS TO PAY UNDERCOVER AWNING GALLERY & ACCESSORY SUPERMARKET
Cynon Valley Labour MP Ann Clwyd