Constituents have been intensely interested in Brexit, and the consequences of the Referendum, since that vote, but even more so over the last few months. I appreciate their comments and advice, and hope that even those who must disagree with me and what I have voted for and why as the months have gone on, at least understand my position.
Today marks potentially the end of the beginning, a chance for Parliament to agree the terms on which we leave the EU, and begin the process of negotiating the next phase - the new relationship with the EU.
As constituents know from regular repetition, as someone who voted to Remain in the EU, I accepted the result of the Referendum and have voted consistently to realise that result, from triggering Article 50, to supporting the Prime Minister’s Agreement with the EU. Having voted for the Referendum process, I think that the best opportunity for the U.K. to heal itself after the extraordinary pain of Brexit is to seek a new future with the EU, and a good future, with us outside it. I know those who fervently want to remain in the EU do not agree, and I’m sorry. I genuinely do not feel I can simply ignore the Referendum result because I disagree with it. But I do have a stopping point.
I will follow that position today, and vote for the Prime Minister’s deal. Many constituents have contacted me in support of the Prime Minister’s efforts over the months. The changes made yesterday seem to me to offer a legal guarantee that, for those who believed the EU might act malevolently to ‘trap’ the U.K., such an outcome cannot occur.
But frankly, it’s all politics now, and not really the law. If colleagues want to back the deal and leave on the 29th March they can do so. If they do not, then they will continue to find reasons not to do so. The Opposition will continue to oppose. It’s their job, and the Labour Party has no coherent answer to the issue at present, being as divided between Leave, Remain, new Referendum, customs union etc as everyone else.
My colleagues on the other hand should be clearer. If those who have advocated for Brexit consistently, over many years, and through the Referendum, do not take this opportunity, then I do not know what they will accept. If they want ‘no deal’, which some do, but not many I believe, they simply will not get it. I, and many others, will not vote for that, and not subject my constituents to the dislocation that would entail. Again, I know some will disagree, and I’m sorry about that too, but that’s my view.
This is the chance for those who have campaigned to leave. It’s time they said ‘yes’ to something rather than ‘no’ and then we can get on with the next and very important phase of our relationship with the EU, but we will do so knowing that an agreement which delivers many things the public voted for have been delivered.
If not, then I do not know quite what the immediate future holds. But I will keep you updated whatever.