Last night, European Union leaders granted Theresa May a six-month extension to the Brexit process, pushing the new deadline back to October 31. This delay was necessary to prevent the alternative: crashing out with a ‘no deal’ exit tomorrow night.

Parliament rightly acted to prevent this no deal scenario. Leaving without a deal would be disastrous for jobs and industry across the North East, and would carry the real risk of a massive increase to food prices and disruption to essential medicines. It is not a credible outcome. It also is not an outcome that was widely discussed during the 2016 referendum – in fact, Leave campaigners promised that a deal would be easy to negotiate.

Given that Parliament has ruled out an immediate ‘no deal’ and secured this extension, we need to find a way forward. We cannot simply find ourselves in this same position in 6 months’ time.

I believe that we need to use this extra time to give the people a final say on the terms of the UK’s relationship with the EU through a public vote.

No form of Brexit can live up to what people were promised in 2016. Leaving the EU will not mean an extra £350 million for the NHS. It will mean reduced investment and, as a result, fewer jobs and opportunities. We will have even less money for public services, prolonging the austerity that has hit our community so hard in recent years.

I know that a majority of my constituents voted to leave in 2016. I also know that many voted to leave in the hope of seeing positive change. I want to see that progress too. We need more well-paid jobs locally, child poverty is too high and rising, and our NHS services are under real pressure.

But as Brexit drags on for the next decade – and that will happen even with Theresa May’s deal – there will be no time or energy to sort the big challenges we face as a community.

I’m grateful to the many constituents who have written to me with their wide-ranging views on the best way forward. I appreciate that there are profound disagreements on this divisive issue – with some constituents advocating a ‘no deal’ Brexit and others urging MPs to revoke Article 50 and stay in the EU. I will always listen to my constituents’ views on this and every issue, and seek to act in their best interests.

Bridget Phillipson MP updates constituents on Brexit proceedings in Parliament
Bridget Phillipson MP updates constituents on Brexit proceedings in Parliament
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