The referendum campaign was a sorry affair and it’s clear that it was not the Labour party’s finest hour. Every pro-Remain member will be feeling the same deep sense of disappointment and regret that I am feeling this weekend, as we have failed, collectively, to save the UK from a reckless leap into the unknown, and we fear it is the people we came into politics to represent who will be hurt first and worst.

Looking back, it’s clear that once the Scottish, Welsh and local elections were out of the way on 6 May, then we should have treated the period through to 23 June as if it were the short campaign period leading up to a general election. Judged against that benchmark, it is equally clear that our leader fought a lacklustre and half-hearted campaign. He spoke at a total of 10 rallies between 6 May and polling day, whereas the party leader would normally expect to achieve that level of activity in a week, when in full campaigning mode.

We must, therefore, have a full and frank discussion when the parliamentary Labour party meets on Monday, to look at what went wrong, and what we should learn. Our leader must be held accountable for the failure of the “Labour In For Britain” campaign, as must we all.

But the failure of the campaign is not my principal reason for supporting the motion of no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn. While I am concerned to ensure that we are all held accountable for the failures of the past weeks and months, I am far more focused on ensuring that we have the right leadership in place to deal with the unique and unprecedented situation in which we now find ourselves.

The fact is that the Brexit negotiations that have been triggered by this referendum are set to completely dominate the political, economic and constitutional agenda for the foreseeable future, and they will clearly take centre stage in the general election that is likely to take place next year.

It’s impossible to overstate the sheer complexity of what is coming down the track. The fact is that the coming years will be dominated by a vast amount of shuttle diplomacy between Brussels and other European capitals, in response to perpetually shifting negotiating positions, and while constantly having to keep our own parliament on side.

But, above all, it is vital that we see these negotiations as delivering not just for the 16 million who voted Remain, or the 17 million who voted Leave, but for the entire country, and for generations yet to come. This must be a process of unity, not division; of compromise, not intransigence; of pragmatism, not purism.

Given that Boris Johnson has said that he believes that the EU is trying to achieve the same goals as Adolf Hitler, but “by different means”, it is difficult to see how he can possibly aspire to lead these negotiations. But that is a matter for the Conservative party. What we do know is that if Boris is handed the keys to No 10, then he is going to require a team around him that is ready to make up for the serious deficiencies in his mindset and track record that will make him a liability at the negotiating table in Brussels, Paris and Berlin.

The Labour party must, therefore, insist that these negotiations are undertaken by a cross-party team, made up of the government and the official opposition. For this is a process that will shape Britain, not just for the course of one parliament, or for one prime minister’s time in office, but for decades to come. The team should be led by the prime minister, and should include the leader of the opposition.

And this is where I come to my concerns about our leader. There is no doubt that Jeremy is a great campaigner, but this is not a time for campaigners. This is a time for hard-headed negotiators. And it is also a time for people who have more than a passing knowledge of, and interest in, the EU.

We need people at the table who will be able to see and understand the positions of the other member states, and of the EU institutions. We need a team in place that will secure the best possible deal for the British people. We need a negotiating team that will place the national interest ahead of narrow party political point scoring.

The livelihoods of people that I and every other Labour MP were elected to represent are now hanging in the balance. We cannot afford to fail them by failing to protect – to the best of our ability, given the weakness of the hand that we have been dealt – the economic growth, workers’ rights and security that have been the defining features of the UK’s membership of the European Union for the last 43 years. That’s why the leader of our party must be at the table when the key deals are being cut.

If we are to extricate ourselves successfully from the EU in a manner that defends and extends our national interest, then those engaged in the negotiations must have extensive knowledge of the EU institutions, the political agendas of the other member states, the workings of the single market, the set-up of our trade with non-EU markets, and the major concerns and priorities of our business community.

The leadership of our party and country must follow the example of those, like Sadiq Khan, who engaged with and worked across party and national lines. We may have no say over who the Tories send to the negotiating table, but we do have a say about who Labour sends. Jeremy Corbyn is a seasoned and highly effective campaigner, and he was elected to lead our party on the basis of a thumping mandate. But that was then and this is now.

Now should not be about the past. The British people have spoken, the decision is made, and we must look forward. British politics is going to be dominated by these Brexit negotiations for the foreseeable future. It is vital that Labour has a seat at the top table, and critical that we have a leader who has the right experience and skills for the task at hand.

And it is for that reason that I am supporting this motion of no confidence.

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