Brexit Resolution: Explanation of vote

Why did you vote for the resolution?

This resolution is about putting pressure on all sides to advance the negotiations and make progress on the key issues such as citizens’ rights and Northern Ireland ahead of the next round of talks – Conservative chaos and confusion has led us to this current impasse, but it is vital that major issues are resolved and the talks progress.

Labour MEPs did not vote for the part of the resolution that dealt with the question of whether the negotiations should progress, however Labour MEPs voted in favour of the final resolution in an effort to put pressure on the UK government to make progress on the vital issues of citizens’ rights and Northern Ireland ahead of the October European Council meeting.

What happens now?

It will be impossible to move on to the next stage of the negotiations unless the Tories start engaging constructively with our EU negotiating partners with the level of detail needed to advance key questions, including on citizens’ rights and securing the Good Friday Agreement.

Labour MEPs believe that clearer guarantees are needed on citizens’ rights and that there is scope for progress to be made on this in the next round of talks in October. The three million EU citizens in the UK and 1.3 million British citizens in the rest of the EU are still living under a cloud of uncertainty – they deserve clarity and reassurances over their future.

With one more round of negotiations until the European Council meeting at the end of this month, this resolution should be a wake-up call to the Tory government that it is time they got serious about Brexit and stopped putting the unity of their party before the future of our country.

Why did you vote against UKIP’s amendments?

Ukip tabled a series of wrecking amendments that add nothing to the debate and are merely designed to frustrate the negotiations and increase the likelihood of their preferred no-deal outcome – an eventuality that would be disastrous for jobs, trade and rights. At a time when we need to be building alliances, the Ukip approach is to insult our EU allies and burn Britain’s bridges.

How did you vote on the issue of Gibraltar?

UKIP’s proposals would have raised the issue of the sovereignty of Gibraltar which isn’t currently on the table. We didn’t vote for the UKIP amendment on a solution to the hardening of the border with Spain as the issue of Britain’s overseas territories needs to be looked at in more detail, including for example the future of UK dependencies bordering French territories in the Caribbean.

UKIP’s push for a ‘hard’ or no-deal Brexit, and its policy to leave the customs union and single market, is likely to result in a hardening of the border between Spain and Gibraltar. In the 2016 referendum, 96% of Gibraltarians voted to remain in the EU; UKIP has no claim to represent the will of the people of Gibraltar.

Why have you voted for Britain to continue paying money to the EU?

Britain should only pay the share of its obligations that it has already committed to, or where it chooses to in the future. The UK may still wish to participate in some EU programmes, for example those that benefit students or keep our manufacturing jobs in the UK; in order to access EU programmes that benefit British citizens, and in order to have access to the EU Single Market, the UK may decide to make some specific financial contributions.

Britain can be proud that it has a reputation as an honourable country that stands by its international commitments and will rightly honour the financial commitments it has made while a member of the EU. To do anything else would not be the British way. The UKIP approach would lead to deadlock, breakdown and the disastrous consequences of no deal.