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Brexit Statement 15/03/2019

March 15, 2019

There have been a number of Brexit votes this week.  I thought at this stage it would be helpful to clarify again how I voted as your MP and why.

As promised, I voted against taking “no deal” off the table indefinitely as an option.  I am against no deal, but while we continue to negotiate, I do not think we should put ourselves in a position where we have to take what we are given by the EU.

I did vote in favour of the Government asking for a short extension, in the event that the Withdrawal Agreement is passed next week and more time is needed to pass the necessary legislation.  I am uncomfortable with delay, but I think it is more important that we leave the EU in a smooth and orderly way, rather than crash out with no deal.

I voted against a second referendum; against an attempt for Parliament to take control, and against the Labour proposal.

As a result of the recent votes, we now know that our elected Parliament is:

  • against the Withdrawal Agreement,
  • against leaving without a deal,
  • against a second referendum,
  • against Parliament taking control,
  • against the so-called Malthouse proposal,
  • against Labour’s Brexit proposals, and
  • for a time limited extension, if the Withdrawal Agreement is passed.

From this, I take it that there is a potential majority in Parliament for a deal which delivers on the referendum, even if slightly delayed.

Next week, the PM will bring back the Withdrawal Agreement.  As the other options are rejected by Parliament it becomes more and more clear that it is the only real deal on the table.  The PM still has a mountain to climb to get a majority, but I am increasingly thinking it is possible and will continue to support her.

If the deal fails again, I am unclear what will happen.  I would expect a process to start to try and establish what kind of agreement would command a majority in Parliament.  My instinct is that would be an agreement that leaves us in a similar position to Norway in relation to the EU.  It will also mean a delay.  To my eyes that option is worse than the Agreement that the PM has reached.

However, we will cross that bridge when we come to it.  For the moment, my priority is to support the PM in securing an agreement that delivers on the referendum and allows us to leave the EU – but in an orderly way that minimises the risk to jobs and security.