TALK­ING POL­I­TICS

Stockport Express - - Front Page - ANN COF­FEY Labour MP for Stock­port

HAPPY New Year ev­ery­one.

Many of you will be wondering what the New Year holds as the cri­sis around the Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions con­tin­ues.

The flow of emails I have re­ceived on the is­sue has soared and in the last few weeks more than 600 have ar­rived.

It will come as no sur­prise that peo­ple have ex­pressed many dif­fer­ent views about the way for­ward.

The peo­ple of Stock­port voted to remain in the EU by 53.2 per cent to 46.8 per cent in the 2016 ref­er­en­dum.

I also con­ducted a postal sur­vey of 4,500 peo­ple in those ar­eas where a high num­ber of peo­ple voted to leave in 2016.

What is strik­ing is that, of those who re­sponded, 71 per cent now feel ‘the peo­ple’ should have the fi­nal say on the Brexit deal and 72 per cent said that re­main­ing in the EU should be an op­tion.

I have de­tected a def­i­nite sign of a change of heart amongst peo­ple who voted leave but who now say they would like the op­por­tu­nity to vote again.

Of those who voted leave in 2016, 13 per cent said they would now vote remain, with many say­ing they felt mis­led or mis­in­formed in the EU ref­er­en­dum.

The young in Stock­port are much more pro Europe than older peo­ple with 83 per cent of 25-49 year olds say­ing there should be an­other vote and an op­tion to remain in the EU against 50 per cent for those aged 64 plus.

I know that the fun­da­men­tal is­sue of sovereignty and what it means to be Bri­tish, which fea­tured so heav­ily in the 1975 and 2016 ref­er­en­dums on Europe, will not be fi­nally re­solved by a ‘peo­ple’s vote’.

But we are where we are now and we need prac­ti­cal so­lu­tions.

The Brexit deal the Prime Min­is­ter has ne­go­ti­ated will not be voted on un­til Jan­uary 17 and with­out ma­jor changes from the EU, is un­likely to win sup­port from MPs.

Also there ap­pears to be no ma­jor­ity sup­port for any other op­tion.

And yet time is run­ning out. We leave the EU on March 29 at 11pm and we need to make a de­ci­sion.

My view, re­in­forced by the sur­vey of con­stituents, is that we should have an­other pub­lic vote.

This time peo­ple would be vot­ing on proper de­tailed op­tions for the way for­ward with the full knowl­edge of what is ac­tu­ally on the ta­ble – the Prime Min­is­ter’s com­pro­mise deal, an­other deal, no deal or re­main­ing in the EU.

If we do not get sup­port for a Peo­ple’s Vote then I can as­sure you that I will sup­port the op­tion that is the least dam­ag­ing to the eco­nomic and so­cial fab­ric of Stock­port and the na­tion.

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