There were some further “indicative“ votes on Monday, as Parliament tried to find out if there was a majority in favour of an alternative to the PM’s Agreement already negotiated with the EU.
After two attempts, there is still no majority for an alternative, although the proposal for us to enter into a customs union with the EU came close.
I looked at the so-called “Soft Brexit” alternatives closely because they offer the “smooth and orderly“ Brexit I want. However, I concluded that they were worse for this country than the agreement secured by the PM. The Customs Union proposal would be more restrictive in terms of our ability to shape our own trade policy. The so-called Common Market 2.0 would not allow us to set our own immigration policy. Both were inconsistent with the manifesto I stood on at the last Election. So I could not vote for them. However, I consider them both a better alternative to No Deal, and so was reluctant to vote against them. I abstained on both.
There was another vote on the proposal that any agreement should be subject to a “confirmatory referendum.” I have always opposed the idea of a second referendum, but I can see a growing argument if Parliament remains gridlocked, or heads off in a different direction from the election manifestos. Accordingly, I abstained.
I voted against revoking Article 50 and the “let’s call the whole thing off“ brigade.
What am I for? Leaving the EU in a smooth and orderly way that minimises risk to jobs and security. I believe even more strongly now that the Agreement already negotiated is the least bad option and I will continue to support it. I am opposed to leaving with no deal. I hope that is clear, even if you disagree with it.
As I write, Cabinet is sitting to try and work out a path through what is now clearly a political crisis. I will do my best to keep you updated. if you would like to speak to me personally, please let me know.
If you have Brexit fatigue, and would like to avoid any more emails from me on the subject, please also let me know.