September: What Brexit means is anyone's guess

We've seen a political roll-a-coaster over the last few months. Alongside the new Prime Minister, Theresa May, we have the the three brexiteers in key cabinet positions. Given the lack of knowledge these three demonstrated during the the EU referendum I am not sure whether to laugh or cry about their new cabinet positions. 

Let's not be mistaken - we have a commited Brexit Government and one that has lurched much further to the right then the previous one. We keep hearing that "Brexit means Brexit" from Theresa May and David Davies helpfully explains this means "leaving the European Union". But what does that actually look like? We have had some more information this week but its mostly empty sound bite without any substance. There are too many open issues and this staunch approach leaves no room for discussion about how to come up with solutions. 

The Leave campaign tried to use the narrative of putting the great back into 'Great Britain', but the Government's lack of plan has been met with bafflement across the world. We need answers and a vision and there is no time to be waste.  

Although the European Parliament has only just re-opened leaders of key universities from the UK have already paid us a visit. They want answers on what will happen to British students who want to study in the EU and EU students who want to study in the UK. We had an interesting meeting, that funnily enough was only attended by MEPs who wanted to remain.

Many people are seeing us as the problem child now and are urging us to leave -we will not be pushed out. Labour MEPs remain united in their view that this will be a difficult separation and triggering article 50 in haste could be a disaster. 

You will have heard a lot about article 50 over the last few months and it isn't always clear what it means. Simply put, its an article in The Treaty of the European Union which allows any country to leave the European Union. It states that a country must notify the European Council (the body of ministers from each individual country) and that on doing so, the council and the country should negotiate an exit strategy taking into account any future relationships with the union. This is where the confusion happens, some things like borders, rights for EU citizens in the UK and Britons abroad etc all clearly have to be negotiated during the process of leaving. Other things, the most important of which is trade, some have said cannot be negotiated until after we have the the European Union. This won't happen overnight and there is a 2 year agreed time from the time that article 50 is invoked (i.e. the Government formally tell the Council) to when we actually leave (this can also be extended if the Council agree to it). Up until that moment my Labour colleagues and I will continue to work in the Parliament to get the best deal for Britain.