Melanie Onn: It would be 'wrong' to try to block Brexit after referendum

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 9 Dec 2016

THE Government's Brexit plan must retain tariff-free trade for northern Lincolnshire exporters and honour the Leave campaign's promises to Grimsby's fishing industry, the town's MP has argued.

Theresa May conceded to a Labour call, through a vote in Parliament on Wednesday evening, for the Government to publish a plan for its "negotiation strategy and objectives" before it comes to wrangling over a new post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union.

But the caveat was that the Conservatives' added a line to the vote which meant that Labour MPs also voted for Article 50 to be triggered in March.

Melanie Onn, MP for Great Grimsby, reasserted that it would be "wrong" to attempt to block Brexit after the referendum outcome and confirmed that she would "certainly vote to trigger Article 50 if that decision comes before Parliament".

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But she also said it was blatant that the Government "still don't have a clear idea of the arrangements they want in place after we've left the EU" and that it was only starting to formulate a plan because Labour had pushed for it.

And that plan must show that ministers will attempt to "secure the best possible deal for Great Grimsby," said Ms Onn.

"I'm focused on ensuring that workers' rights are protected, that Government ministers don't forget about the promises they made to the fishing industry during the referendum campaign, and that Britain gets the best possible market access to Europe so that businesses in Grimsby can continue to export their products tariff-free and jobs aren't lost," she added.

Last week, during a debate in Parliament on fishing, Cleethorpes MP Martin Vickers asked the front bench to ensure there is "EU-UK free trade" in fisheries products – something which the food processing industry in the region is keen to hang on to.

Mr Vickers clarified to the Telegraph that his request was not an indication that he hoped to remain in the single market – the trade system in which EU members sign-up to free movement of labour in exchange for abolishing trade charges on products sold between nations in the bloc.

"Absolutely not," said the Tory MP.

"What it means is that the food processing industry, like every other area of commerce, want the best deal possible.

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"We should be bold enough to say we are the fifth largest economy and we have a trade deficit with Europe. We want their business but they also want ours.

"There will, therefore, be a model and agreeable formula that we can all sign-up to."

Mr Vickers said voters – including 70 per cent of the electorate in North East Lincolnshire – had shown they were willing to "pay the price" for leaving the EU if it meant they could "bring back control of the economy, border controls and the judiciary to the UK's elected politicians".

"They were prepared to pay the price for it, as demonstrated by the fact they ignored all the dire warnings," he said.

"The electorate has shown themselves to be very thoughtful and courageous in many ways."

The long-standing Eurosceptic politician said the Brexit plan the Government had agreed to share with Parliament should not set out any more than "the opening gambit".

"We are in an extremely strong position," said Mr Vickers.

"I think the plan will give the overall objectives of the Government's negotiations – and that's all it should do."

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