I campaigned vigorously in the weeks leading up to the referendum to remain in the EU, as can be seen in my previous newsletter celebrating one year in Parliament.
It was my belief that only by retaining our membership in the EU can the UK remain a strong member of the world economy and maintain its reputation as a country that welcomes immigrants, refugees and EU nationals who are willing to become a part of British society, but we are where we are.
My constituents in Ealing Central and Acton made their wishes regarding the referendum quite clear: I’ve received nearly a thousand emails, the overwhelming majority against leaving the EU. No surprise as 72% voted to remain in the wards that I represent.
Unfortunately, given the result of the national vote, all that is left is to do everything in my power to mitigate the impact of this disastrous decision to leave the EU.
It is vital that EU nationals living and working in our country are ensured a future here. I am proud that Ealing is such a multicultural borough, as ONS figures from 2014 state that 41,000 EU-born nationals reside here. Their contributions to the economy and culture of Ealing and the UK as a whole must be respected. It is disgraceful that the government should suggest that EU nationals who have contributed to British society in innumerable ways are not guaranteed a future in this country.
Especially troubling in this regard are the recent reports that suggest instances of violence and abuse directed towards EU nationals in this country have risen following the leave vote in the referendum. The Monday following the result, David Cameron fielded questions regarding the consequences of the vote. I asked that he address the rise of post-Brexit hate crimes and commit to taking action to stop them. Here are my comments and his response.
Most recently, I have raised concerns in the chamber regarding greater safeguards for future referenda. I am concerned at the rate at which key campaign promises of the referendum have unravelled following the vote. It is clear now that the economic impact of the vote is more significant than the Leave campaign claimed, that the NHS will not be receiving the promised £350 million a week, and that there was not and is not a sufficient plan in place to guide the UK through this period of disastrous transition.
I maintained in my comments to the chamber that in the future there should be, at least, manifestos which outline measurable pledges from leading campaigns on both sides, in the interest of accountability and avoiding the truth becoming a casualty in the scramble for votes. You can read my comments here.
It cannot be denied that we have entered a time of uncertainty in the UK, both economically and socially. The promises put forth by each campaign have not come to fruition, and it is obvious now that misinformation abounded throughout this campaign. The politicians that led us into this situation have since abandoned their posts and responsibilities. There will be consequences, both foreseeable and unforeseeable, that it will come down to members of Parliament and the residents of the UK to manage and shoulder.
However, please rest assured that I will do everything in my power to stand against consequences and mitigate the impact of this decision for my constituents. I will continue to demand answers from our leaders and ensure that any future action will be in the best interests of all UK citizens.