Andrew Smith MP

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Oxford East MP Andrew Smith is one of 43 Labour MPs who have signed a letter to Prime Minister Theresa May voicing strong concern about the dangers of her approach to Brexit. You can read the letter in full here.

Andrew Smith said: “Whilst the referendum result must be honoured, no-one voted to make our country poorer. If the Commons gets the chance to vote on the approach to leaving the EU, I will vote for amendments to stay in the single market and to protect employment and environmental standards. These are crucial for Oxford, in particular our car industry, recruitment to health services, universities and science research.”

The full text of the letter to the Prime Minister:

Dear Prime Minister,

On Tuesday, you announced your intention to pull Britain out of the Single Market and to seek a free trade agreement with the European Union instead. Other nations like Norway and Iceland are not in the EU yet opted to be part of the Single Market because of the huge benefits it brings. But before negotiations have even begun, you have discarded our membership of the largest and most sophisticated trading zone in the world. You start a negotiation by aiming for the best deal you can possibly get; not by throwing in the towel and waving the white flag as you have done.

Even more worrying, you said that Britain could leave the EU without any form of future trading arrangement being agreed. This is a threat that places Britain’s prosperity below matters of internal Tory party management. Managing expectations ahead of the start of talks may be smart internal party politics, but it could sail the UK economy onto the rocks.

Leaving without a deal would immediately impose tariffs on exports from the UK to the EU, as we would move onto World Trade Organisation tariff schedules. These would include ten per cent on cars, 12 per cent on many items of clothing, and 40 per cent on lamb. British manufacturers and farmers would face being priced out of their most important market, which buys 44 per cent of all our exports. Businesses large and small in our constituencies would suffer, jobs would be lost and prices in the shops would rise.

You say that "no deal for Britain is better than a bad deal for Britain" as if you will bear no responsibility for such an outcome. You may try to scapegoat the EU or the civil service, but you are the Prime Minister. Those of your ministers who campaigned to Leave promised that Britain would achieve a free trade agreement post-Brexit, and you have signed up to their agenda. If the negotiation goes wrong and all we can get is a "bad deal" with the European Union, you and your cabinet will be responsible.

Your threat to our European partners – to leave “the mainstream of European economic and social thinking” in order to “regain competitiveness” – is both diplomatic nonsense and a real danger to the living standards of working people. It is a nonsense because the United Kingdom would have much more to lose from a trade war than the European Union. They buy 44 per cent of our exports, while we buy just seven per cent of theirs. In a negotiation, the smaller partner gets what it wants through subtlety and goodwill – not bluster and hollow threats.

It is a danger to working people because we all know what Tory politicians mean by “regaining competitiveness”: tax cuts for the rich paid for by slashing public services, and a bonfire of employment rights and environmental protections. Your words about a Britain that “protects and enhances” workers’ rights are just that – words. You have yet to guarantee all the employment rights delivered by our EU membership will be maintained. Members of your cabinet have already made clear your party's desired direction of travel: Liam Fox has called the laws that protect our rights at work “intellectually unsustainable” and Priti Patel said employment regulations should be halved.

So the approach to Brexit outlined in your speech is clear: it is one of self-harm, not statesmanship. Devastating our trade by leaving without a deal, and then making Britain the sweatshop of Europe, would be a disaster for our country. Working people, including millions who voted to Leave the EU, would pay the price. Your government has a mandate to take us out of the EU but you have no mandate to do this.

Yours sincerely,

Chuka Umunna, Chair of Vote Leave Watch

Heidi Alexander

Rushanara Ali

Adrian Bailey

Luciana Berger

Ben Bradshaw

Karen Buck

Ann Coffey

Neil Coyle

Mary Creagh

Stella Creasy

Geraint Davies

Stephen Doughty

Maria Eagle

Julie Elliot

Mike Gapes

Lilian Greenwood

Harriet Harman

Margaret Hodge

Liz Kendall

Peter Kyle

David Lammy

Chris Leslie

Holly Lynch

Seema Malhotra

Chris Matheson

Kerry McCarthy

Pat McFadden

Ian Murray

Alison McGovern

Toby Perkins

Jess Phillips

Steve Reed

Joan Ryan

Tulip Siddiq

Naz Shah

Gavin Shuker

Andrew Smith

Angela Smith

Wes Streeting

Gareth Thomas

Phil Wilson

John Woodcock

Daniel Zeichner

Andrew warning to Prime Minister over Brexit

Oxford East MP Andrew Smith is one of 43 Labour MPs who have signed a letter to Prime Minister Theresa May voicing strong concern about the dangers of her approach...

Ahead of the 2017 Autumn Statement, Andrew is urging the Chancellor to provide funds to ensure childcare providers avoid closure, and are able to meet the demands of 30 hours free childcare per week.

Hundreds of nurseries are at risk of closure across the country as a result of the Government’s plans.

The Government’s new Early Years Funding formula leaves over one quarter of local authorities facing a reduction in funding, and many others still unable to meet rising costs that result from expanded childcare places. Nurseries are facing a crisis.

Childcare professionals, local authorities, and parents have been clear that fair and proper funding will be necessary to ensure the 30 hours pledge is not another broken promise. Andrew is joining them by demanding that the Government provides the funding and keeps its promises to parents and teachers across the country.

Following the launch of a Labour campaign to safeguard nurseries and childcare, Andrew said: “I am very concerned about the continuing lack of early years provision and threats to its future. The Labour Party's Sure Start Grant which funded many children’s centres and nurseries was one of the things first cut in 2010 when the Coalition Government took power. It is awful to see that a great and valuable initiative is continuing to be underfunded.

Save the Children research shows evidence of a wider trend revealing that there has been a significant reduction in the quality and quantity of childcare provision across Oxfordshire, as in the country more generally. Between 2009 and 2015 the number of childcare places in Oxfordshire fell by over 2,000 and the number of childcare providers fell by over 200. This is deeply concerning, especially for many constituents relying on the valuable service provided by Nurseries and Childcare Centres.

With my fellow Labour MPs I am calling on the Chancellor to set out a sustainable funding plan for Early Years Education in the forthcoming Autumn statement. It is vital that the funding for this is put in place.”

Andrew presses for Government funding to save local nurseries

Ahead of the 2017 Autumn Statement, Andrew is urging the Chancellor to provide funds to ensure childcare providers avoid closure, and are able to meet the demands of 30 hours...

Andrew is backing a hard-hitting new campaign from Cancer Research UK to remove junk food advertising from TV before the 9pm watershed. 

Andrew joined campaigners in Westminster last week (Tuesday 5 July) to find out more about the ‘Junk Free TV’ campaign, which aims to help tackle children’s obesity.

In the South East around one in five (20.3%) children are overweight or obese*, and people who are obese as children are more likely to be obese as adults which increases their risk of developing cancer.

Research shows children who see junk food advertised on TV eat more unhealthy food.

While such ads have already been removed during children’s TV shows, young viewers are regularly exposed to alluring marketing during other programming, such as family entertainment.

The launch of the campaign is accompanied by a report** featuring interviews with eight-12 year olds. It illustrates the persuasive impact of TV junk food advertising on youngsters.

Of one particular advert, a child said: “It makes you feel as if you’re happy and excited, and it feels like you want to try it because the guy’s dancing in it because he’s eaten it and it tastes good.”

Another child said they wanted to “lick the screen”, while others said they had “begged” and “pestered” their parents to buy junk food they’d enjoyed watching the adverts for.

Andrew says: “With stark levels of childhood obesity in Oxford and across the UK, it’s clear we need to act now to help give children the best chance of a healthy future.

“Obese children are more likely to be obese as adults, so it’s vital that young people are encouraged to eat healthily and keep active and that healthy choices are easy to make.

“I wholeheartedly support Cancer Research UK’s efforts to reduce the insidious influence of TV junk food advertising on children’s lives.”

Obesity is the biggest preventable cause of cancer after smoking and is linked to ten different types including two of the most common cancers, breast and bowel and two of the hardest to treat, oesophageal and pancreatic.

Cancer Research UK is campaigning for a comprehensive childhood obesity strategy from Government to help protect children and save more lives in the future.

As well as calling for the removal of junk food advertising on TV before the 9pm watershed, the charity wants to see the promised tax on sugary drinks brought into effect and the introduction of Government-led targets for reducing the amount of fat and sugar in food.

Alison Cox, Cancer Research UK’s Director of Cancer Prevention, said: “Junk food is everywhere. Children are bombarded by advertising tailored to tempt them with pretty colours and cartoons which all influence the food they prefer. We need stronger action to help our children have healthier diets, and eat fewer unhealthy foods packed with extra calories.’

“Being overweight and obese is a major cause of preventable illness and death in the UK, costing the NHS billions of pounds each year. We owe it to future generations to reduce the devastating impact caused by the obesity epidemic and help save more lives.”

To support the campaign, visit

Andrew backs campaign for ‘Junk Free TV’

Andrew is backing a hard-hitting new campaign from Cancer Research UK to remove junk food advertising from TV before the 9pm watershed. 

On June 23rd the British people have the choice on whether to stay in the European Union. Andrew has been a supporter of a referendum on Britain’s EU membership, and he is backing the Labour IN campaign to support Britain’s continued membership.

Andrew says:  “I voted for a referendum on the European Union in 2011, and I think it’s right that the people have a say on such an important issue for our country’s future.

The EU is not perfect, but history shows how important it is to maintain peace, co-operation and friendship in Europe.  If we were to leave, there would not only be economic uncertainty, but if we wanted to keep the benefits of the single market we would end up accepting EU regulations with no say in how they are made.  We would lose our excellent local MEP Anneliese Dodds as our elected voice in Europe, along with the important work she has done for international co-operation to make big, multinational companies pay their fair share of taxes in the way that small businesses have to.

In Oxford, thousands of jobs depend on trade with Europe. The success of the BMW plant in Cowley shows how important the single market is; but in such a market you need common action for workers’ rights such as minimum paid leave, paid maternity and paternity leave, equal pay, anti-discrimination laws, and protection for the workforce when companies change ownership.

You also need joint action to safeguard the environment. Pollution does not respect national frontiers. Furthermore, Oxfordshire also benefits massively from EU support for scientific research in which we are a world leader. Oxford University alone received over £60 million in EU grants in 2014/15.

In a heated campaign like this, a lot of overblown claims get made.  People I have talked with on the doorstep want accurate information on things like the importance of EU membership for jobs, workers’ rights, and our quality of life, so they can make a careful and considered judgement.  I believe that is what they will do. I also think people realise just how important it is that they use their vote for their own and Oxford’s future, where it is clear we  achieve more working together, enjoying the strengths and diversity of the European Union, than we would standing alone.  That is at the heart of Labour’s case for a vote to remain."

“We achieve more together than we would alone” says Andrew, backing the Labour IN campaign

On June 23rd the British people have the choice on whether to stay in the European Union. Andrew has been a supporter of a referendum on Britain’s EU membership, and he...

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