East Ham MP Stephen Timms is determined to discover what Brexit means to everyone

PUBLISHED: 12:42 06 December 2016 | UPDATED: 12:42 06 December 2016


Britain’s vote to leave the European Union in the referendum of June 23 was the most significant political moment of our generation.

I campaigned for a remain vote. I was pleased Newham voted to remain, but bitterly disappointed by the national result.

The next few months will be vital. Decisions in the coming negotiations will affect everyone in Britain for decades to come.

I was delighted three weeks ago to be elected by Labour MPs to the cross party Select Committee on Exiting the European Union. There are four Labour MPs among the 20 members, plus the chairman, Hilary Benn.

The committee meets once per week to discuss all issues relating to Brexit. It will be quizzing ministers and civil servants, talking with stakeholders and carrying out visits around the country to establish what Brexit means for people in every walk of life. Its role is to scrutinise government policy, and to produce proposals and guidance as ministers navigate this most unprecedented of courses.

We have planned visits from Cornwall to Aberdeen and from Swansea to Londonderry. Our evidence hearings will be open to the public. Last week, in our first evidence session, we heard from Professor Catherine Barnard (University of Cambridge), Sir Simon Fraser (former Permanent Secretary of the Foreign Office) and Dr Hannah White (Institute for Government).

I will use my committee role to promote the interests of ordinary people in Newham and elsewhere: to protect jobs in London, resisting choices which would force firms to move jobs out of the UK, and to safeguard workers’ rights and safety.

Brexit seems likely to go ahead. I am determined though that, thanks to vigorous scrutiny from me and my colleagues, we will win concessions, and secure the best possible outcome for working people across the country. More from Stephen

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