Whatever happens on Brexit, I am standing down as an MEP
12 April 2019
As some of you may have heard by now, I’ve taken the decision that whatever happens on Brexit I will be stepping down as an MEP next week. I’ve represented my home region of Yorkshire and the Humber for over 21 years and now is the right time to stand aside. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has worked with or voted for me over the years for their support. It has been an honour to serve.
Leaving office, I am proud of the many achievement that Labour MEPs have obtained for people in our region through our EU membership: from environmental protection, workers’ rights, women’s rights, climate action, development work, huge economic regeneration investment and so much more. Last year, myself and my Labour colleague Richard Corbett MEP produced a booklet of 40 years of achievements in the EU which celebrated all the rights and protections we’ve won over all this time.
I will be stepping down as an MEP next Thursday - the last day the European Parliament sits before the European elections. This means my constituency office will also close and my emails will no longer be monitored.
The decision at the European Council to give us an extension to 31st October means that most likely Britain will be taking part in European elections on May 23rd. The Labour Party will be selecting candidates in the coming week. I look forward to working with them in the forthcoming campaign.
Finally, I am only sorry that my term in office ends with this damaging Brexit controversy. I strongly believe that what, if anything, the debate since the 2016 referendum has highlighted is that the best deal for the U.K. is to retain our EU membership. Three years on, I really hope that the British people will be given the opportunity of a confirmatory referendum on any Brexit deal and that they will take the option to remain.
With my thanks and best wishes,