Leavers can either put Brexit at risk with Jeremy Corbyn or get Brexit done with Boris Johnson

Leavers can either put Brexit at risk with Jeremy Corbyn or get Brexit done with Boris Johnson

Below is the text of the speech given by former Labour MP and Vote Leave Chair Gisela Stuart at a press conference alongside Boris Johnson and Michael Gove this morning 

I was Chair of the Vote Leave campaign which brought together not only the three of us, but volunteers and supporters from nearly all the political parties. In the referendum campaign, Vote Leave promised that a vote to Leave would see us take back control of our laws, borders, money and trade.

That was three and a half-years ago and all of this should, of course, have happened by now.

But Brexit has not happened because Labour, the Lib Dems and others have done everything they can to frustrate, delay and overturn the referendum result: Labour have voted twice to delay Brexit; the Labour leadership, the Shadow Cabinet and most Labour MPs do not believe in Brexit; Labour’s proposed Brexit deal is so bad, that not even Jeremy Corbyn can bring himself to support it.

So that means Leave voters have a clear choice at this election: put Brexit at risk with Jeremy Corbyn or get Brexit done with Boris Johnson. And we must get Brexit done. There is too much at stake for the country.

We need to get on with it:

  • so we can start to rebalance our country so that counties, towns and villages away from London have a greater voice and are no longer ignored;
  • so that we can strengthen and modernise our health service, give our children and grandchildren the education and training they need to excel; and
  • get on with building the strong economy we need if we are to meet the urgent challenge of climate change and invest in the renewal that our country needs.

I became the MP for Edgbaston in the Labour landslide election win of 1997 that saw Tony Blair become Prime Minister. I was lucky enough to represent some of the most resilient, generous and fair minded people in the country and to serve as a Labour government minister during a time of optimism about what Labour could achieve.

For many, Labour represented the hope of a better and fairer Britain – one that could thrive economically and restore a sense of pride. That has all changed.

I am devasted by the rise of anti-Jewish racism within the Labour Party and the abandonment of the moderate, pragmatic and fair-minded politics that was the hallmark of Labour through most of my life. I still think of myself as Labour, and my values are still Labour.

But while my values have stayed the same, those of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party have changed. This is no longer the Labour Party that I and many thousands of others joined. The Labour Party of John Smith, Gordon Brown and Tony Blair has gone, at least for now.

I know that for many, supporting Labour is part of family tradition. They will feel as I do that they face a difficult choice, torn between loyalty to the Party and the best interests of the country as a whole.

I say to those traditional Labour voters who three and a half years ago supported Vote Leave that we can bring this country back together and restore a sense of hope, but not by voting for Jeremy Corbyn.

I started these remarks by saying that Vote Leave was a cross party endeavour and I believe that at this election we need to come together again – setting aside party allegiance – to get Brexit done and to heal the country.

In this election I will not vote for Jeremy Corbyn but I can vote for Brexit. This is, after all, the Brexit election. And a vote for Boris Johnson this time around is a vote to get Brexit done.

To do so does not make me and would not make you a Tory. Rather, it is the best option for all those who like me still share Labour’s traditional values but who voted to Leave and who want certainty and an end to the stagnation, division and delay.

I urge other Leave voters across the country to join me in voting for Brexit one more time by voting for Boris Johnson on December 12th so together we can finish the job we started; we can take back control and we can get Brexit done.

You can watch the press conference featuring this speech in the video below: