The independent London newspaper

The electorate should have a say on any deal that is finally agreed on the EU and the UK

14 December, 2017

• SHOPPING for Christmas this year has been something of a shock. Everything is so much more expensive. The cheapest Christmas dinner will cost 18 per cent more than last year.
Whether it is stocking up with food or buying presents for our families and friends it is hard to ignore how prices have risen. And it is not hard to see why: the fall in the pound has meant that so many of the things we import have become more expensive.

This is the cost of Brexit we all are feeling already – and we are still in the European Union. How much worse will it get when we actually leave?

In Camden we can see and feel what the EU means to us all every day. Walking to Kentish Town tube it’s a joy to hear French being spoken by children as they go to the French school on Holmes Road.

St Pancras is on our doorstep: the gateway for Eurostar and the Christmas markets of France. And on Arlington Road there is the church of Our Lady of Hal, built to serve the Belgian community that fled to Camden during the First World War.

Is it any wonder that Camden’s people voted overwhelmingly to remain inside the EU, an organisation that has served its citizens so well?

We can be proud of the dogged fight that Keir Starmer is putting up to keep us inside the customs union and single market. As he rightly said, these options must be kept on the table.

But this will only happen if we have a powerful campaign to reject the damaging, destructive impact that Brexit will inflict on us all.

We need a united campaign that will bring together everyone who resists the wounds that leaving the EU will inflict on all our communities. We only have to look at how dangerous the border issue is to peace and prosperity in Northern Ireland to see why this is essential.

There is only one party that has the strength and the numbers in parliament to lead such a campaign, and that is Labour.

Diane Abbott promised that she would “argue for the right of the electorate to vote on any deal that is finally agreed.” I welcome her call for the public to have the right to have the final say. This is far too important to be left to one vote once.

Let the Labour leadership now take up this cause with all the strength and passion that it can muster. Jeremy Corbyn has shown that he can mobilise the many as well as the few when he puts his heart into a campaign.

Now is the time for Labour to accept that this is the cause of our time: to reject the appalling damage that Brexit will do across our country and lead this fight.



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