OUR parliament is about to make the most important political decision of the last half-century.

Our MPs will vote whether to accept Mrs May's inadequate “deal,” negotiated with other European leaders, or accept instead the harsh reality of a “no-deal” exit from the European Union.

Neither option is good for the UK.

This vote results from the narrow “leave” majority, obtained in that referendum 30 months ago, after a campaign notable for its falsehoods and inadequate information. The two largely wasted years of negotiation since June 2016 have clearly indicated the likely and deeply harmful outcomes of either choice.

We now have clear evidence of the damage to manufacturing industry, as in the car industry, with every major UK car manufacturer preparing to move some if not all production elsewhere, and at Airbus, also indicating a likely move from Britain. We know that hundreds of financial organisations in London are planning to establish new offices in Europe. The implications for future unemployment across the UK are deeply alarming.

We also now understand the likely implications for ease of travel and employment into Europe; for students hoping to study in Europe under the Erasmus scheme; for the future of co-operative scientific research projects; for university funding; and in almost every other area of work in which we may have to unravel 45 years of increasing co-operation with sister organisations in Europe. It is no surprise that almost every UK professional body is deeply concerned about the future and urges us to think again.

There is another aspect of this self-damaging prospect which fills me with dismay. As someone who remembers the 1939 to 1945 war, recalls the fear of Nazi bombing as the sirens sounded, and then the appalling conditions we all endured when the war was over, I cannot believe that we are considering damaging the unique trans-Europe relationship established through the EU. We should recognise that the EU has helped to create the longest-ever era of peace and cooperation in our continent.

I hope that there is still time for our local MPs to see sense, and to make the case for staying in the EU, which has brought so many benefits for us all.

Roger Rogers, via email