I wrote the following comments in the Stoke Sentinel a few weeks ago because of the ongoing failure of the government over Brexit. As the Cabinet meets today I hope that they move closer to the sort of deal as represented in our six key tests that Jeremy, Keir and I could then support .
It’s clear that on Brexit, not only is the Prime Minister and her cabinet split, but so is her government and her party. Their infighting isn’t good for our country but nor does it help to present strong and united negotiating position with the EU. But it isn’t the optics or op-eds that really matter, it people’s jobs and how the economy could and will be affected by a bad deal or the catastrophe of the prospect of no deal at all.
Here in Stoke-on-Trent, in the heart of the Potteries, no more broadly will a bad deal that doesn’t include a proper customs arrangement be felt than in the ceramics industry. Five thousand jobs are directly related to manufacturing, across the city, there are 15,000 such jobs, and even more when we tie in the supply chains and support services that make those industries flourish.
I recently spoke with union reps from the Toyota factory in Burnaston, Derbyshire. A site which Toyota has earmarked for over two hundred million pounds worth of investment, creating over two hundred new high skilled jobs.
The Burnaston site operates with only three hours’ worth of stock continuously available, meaning a delivery just over every thirty minutes, many from the EU. They told me that if the government doesn’t enter a customs agreement that protects such swift and easy flow of goods then the plant would struggle to maintain production. These fears aren’t scare stories but the real-world consequences of the Prime Minister’s failure.
At this critical time, if the MPs from all parties are more interested in settling old internal scores or pushing personal ambition before that of the country, then they should be honest about that. The Labour Party have made it clear that if the Prime Minister is able to escape the hardliners in her own party and move towards a deal that meets the needs of our communities on jobs, trade, work place rights and protections then she will have our support.
In my by-election acceptance speech, I talked about Stoke-on-Trent being more than the press entitled ‘capital of Brexit’. I spoke about Stoke-on-Trent as a city of innovators and educators, artists and entrepreneurs. As the pioneers of the first industrial revolution with the potential to lead the next one. That belief has been strengthened over those eighteen months, but so as my belief that we need a deal that protects their economic futures and gives us the opportunity to compete on a fair playing field, not a deal that satisfies cliques in her party.
The Prime Minister must put forward a deal that meets those challenges and can command a majority in the House of Commons. That might mean putting her premiership at risk to put forward a deal that closer resembles Labour’s position, but when we are talking about people’s jobs, homes and future’s surely that must trump political expediency and self-interest?
If she doesn’t, and puts party before the national interest, I won’t support her and those ordinary hard-working people of Stoke-on-Trent who will bear the brunt of any sordid political fix – won’t forget.

Theresa May
Theresa May
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