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Message from Richard Howitt MEP to my constituents following the EU Referendum, 24 June 2016.

“The EU Referendum has produced a 'leave' vote in most of my constituency

and of the country.

Politics are based on the principle of consent and we have to accept

that the popular will is for Britain to leave the European Union.

As an elected representative and on behalf of the Labour Party, I

respect the result and must commit to its outcome.

I am proud of the way Labour fought the Referendum campaign. United as a

party, I believe we told the truth and regret the outcome.

I do not believe Britain's independence or democracy were ever jeopardised.

I am concerned that the economic consequences of leaving the EU will

prove to be fact not fear. “

 

“In Westminster, Labour must and will give the greatest priority to

defending jobs and services for working people, from the shocks which

will follow.

 

I worry about the divisive nature of the debate and for the continuing

loss of tolerance, respect and openness in our democracy.

 

It is not how I choose to practice my own politics. It is why I wanted

our country to continue to have an open and inclusive politics in

relation to our neighbours in Europe.

 

I was elected on public trust to serve the interests of my constituents

in the East of England and to represent our country.

 

I pledge to continue to uphold those responsibilities for as long as I

remain as your Member of the European Parliament. Labour will play our

own part to seek to heal the divisions created during the referendum

campaign.

 

In Europe, Labour must play our own role in the negotiations to secure

the best future relationships for our country.

 

It has been an immense privilege to serve you and I am deeply proud of

the work I have always sought to undertake to the very best of my

efforts - both in the region and in the European Parliament.

 

I greatly value the support and friendship I have been given from Labour

colleagues, members and supporters across the East of England and from

very many organisations and individuals across the wider electorate.

 

That support and friendship has come too from my fellow Labour Euro MPs

and from our colleagues from the other European countries.

 

However the immediate future sees my own work and responsibilities

continue, and other personal considerations are for the future. I always

said that the EU Referendum was far more important than any one

political party or politician. On that too, we told the truth.

 

However, I do not shed a tear at the resignation of David Cameron, who

was the author of his own downfall, right from the time he made promises

to his own Eurosceptic backbench MPs to secure election as the leader

of his party.

 

It proved impossible to overcome the years of acceding to

Euroscepticism in British domestic politics, in the few short weeks of a

referendum campaign.

 

I fear that our country will suffer deeply because of the internal

divisions of the Conservative Party.

 

Today I prefer to emphasize the positive convictions in my own and our

Labour Party's politics.

 

We remain firmly internationalist, anti-racist and committed to the

pursuit of social justice.

 

We were not able to fully realise those values in campaigning for

Britain to remain in the European Union.

 

But these are values in which we will always believe and for which I and

we will always campaign.

 

Thank-you to everyone with whom I have campaigned in the past few weeks

and thank-you to everyone who voted for Britain to remain in the

European Union.

 I am proud to be both British and European. I wish more of our fellow

citizens had felt that too.”

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