As MPs representing constituencies that voted to leave the EU in 2016, we know only too well about the divisions Brexit has provoked. But we also know that many of the problems that led to the Brexit vote long predated that referendum. Years of austerity, underinvestment, lack of opportunity – all helped to stoke a deep-seated feeling of neglect and anger towards what many saw as a distant and self-serving political establishment.
Seen in this context, it is no surprise that so many people in the seats we represent chose to vote for radical change. The offer was clear and compelling: leaving would mean a massive budget boost for the NHS and other public services, we would be able to keep our trade with the EU while growing it with the rest of the world, and prices would fall.
Yet the reality today is quite different. After two years of talks, the government has admitted that every form of Brexit will hurt our economy. That means our constituents will be poorer, for many of them their jobs will be put at risk, and the pressures on our NHS and other public services will only deepen. And far from taking back control, Brexit would see the UK forced to follow EU rules over which we will no longer have a say.
We have to be honest that the Brexit that was promised cannot be delivered, and that, if we leave, that will be just the start of a process that will consume our country for a generation or more. The radical Labour government we all want…