Labour MP says voters ‘will walk’ from all parties if Brexit not delivered
John Mann sends warning on the second day of MPs debating the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal.
Labour Brexiteer John Mann has warned colleagues that voters “will walk” from all political parties if the referendum result is not delivered.
The Bassetlaw MP questioned whether “Parliament and its authority will survive” if a failure to reach agreement on a deal with the EU resulted in no deal or no Brexit.
Mr Mann, speaking on the second day of debate on the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal, called on his frontbench to stick to the party’s “stated objectives to be getting a negotiated deal”.
He said: “The time for rhetoric has gone, there’s been plenty of repeat speeches on what people think, everyone has a view.
“The time for negotiating has begun, the Government ought to be looking, be it the shadow frontbench, the shadow Brexit secretary, be it the chair of the Brexit select committee and getting people in and attempting to negotiate directly with them immediately on how we go forward.
“Otherwise the prospect of no deal gets all the more real, no deal by accident.”
He added: “Now is the time for practical, specific proposals of what people are in favour of precisely, not what people are against, but precisely what people are in favour of.
“It’s not just ‘will we get through the next few weeks?’, it’s actually about whether Parliament and its authority will survive.
They will walk and they'll say the political process is useless, it's broken, you're all to blame John Mann MP
“My voters will walk – they may not vote Tory, they may not vote Ukip, may not vote for me – they will walk and they’ll say the political process is useless, it’s broken, you’re all to blame.”
“We should at least try from the Labour Party manifesto position and our stated objectives to be getting a negotiated deal with the Government and vice versa”, he said.
Labour former minister Caroline Flint earlier said both the Leave and Remain sides were “polarised” and that “no deal is ever going to be good enough” for either of them.
She said: “My approach to the UK’s decision to leave the European Union is to seek to look forward rather than debate the past, work cross-party where possible, be constructive rather than destructive. And, I hope, seek to unite the country, not divide it further.”
Ms Flint said that was why she was backing an amendment to the deal to try and protect workers’ rights once we leave the EU.
Striking a different tone than some of her backbench Labour colleagues, she said extending Article 50 or holding another referendum was not the right way forward.
“Our conduct in the coming weeks and months can either seek the best deal, and seek to heal divisions, or we can seek to prevent a deal and divide the country further,” she said.
“I believe that our path has to be one that brings the nation together. A Brexit based on a reasonable deal that protects those standards and rights we value.”