Speech to "Put It To The People" March
Like a lot of people, I didn’t want to be here today. Let me explain:
I didn’t want a referendum called to heal internal Tory wounds. I didn’t want to lose to a Leave campaign filled with lies and false promises. I didn’t want a Prime Minister who refused to compromise or a Government that pandered to extremism.
And I didn’t want the humiliation of our country left isolated and alone on the global stage.
Friends, the progressive left has tried to compromise.We believed that we had to put aside party differences to try to find some way through for the country.
We worked to respect the result of the referendum and tried to get a deal that was in the best interests of all the people of this country.
I tell you today that compromise has failed. At every turn we have been ignored.
At every stage Theresa May has doubled down rather than reached out.
She has made it impossible for anyone who cares about jobs, about solidarity at home and abroad, about friendship across borders and between communities to support this Brexit.
Because when she says ‘Brexit means Brexit’ it is clear, finally, what she means.
For her Tories, only the hardest, cruellest Brexit will do.
And my party, the Labour Party, cannot stand by and watch that happen.
Our Prime Minister attacks Parliament and refuses to give the people their say. She claims she speaks for Britain.
Well, have a look out of your window Prime Minister. Open your curtains. Switch on your TV. Look at this magnificent crowd today.
Here are the people. Theresa May: you don’t speak for us.
Our country has been left to rot, starved of attention, starved of resources, while this Tory mess of a Government humiliates itself - and all of us - week in, week out.
This deal pleases no one. If you voted remain it’s a rubbish deal. If you voted leave it’s a lousy deal.There are no winners, only losers.
In the West Midlands, where I'm from and which I proudly represent in Parliament as the MP for West Bromwich East, people voted to leave.
I respect them. I respect their view and their vote. And I understand why they wanted to take back control.
Our part of the country has been decimated by austerity, we’ve seen poverty rise while our NHS and police have been cut to the bone. We have been ignored for too long.
But whether you voted leave or remain in that referendum it’s becoming increasingly clear that Parliament can’t give you what you want – Brexit is stuck in the Parliamentary pipework and it’s not going to find a way out.
When the deal fails this week we are going to face the prospect of a huge delay to the process – I don’t think the people that voted Leave want that and I don’t think people who voted Remain want that.
So I have an explicit message for Theresa May: I will support your deal going through Parliament or a revised deal you can agree with my party.
I will help you get it over the line to prevent a disastrous no deal exit. But I can only vote for a deal if you let the people have a vote on it too.That’s the only way out of this mess.
The way to solve this crisis is to recognise we’re all in it together. The way to break the stalemate is for Parliament and the people to come together. The way to reunite our country is to decide on our future together.
It’s time to say with one voice: put it to the people.Prime Minister, you've lost control of this process. You're plunging the country into chaos. Let the people take control.
If you'd like to receive my weekly newsletter direct to your inbox, you can sign up here.