Constituents will be aware that the debate on the Withdrawal Agreement takes place this week and I am grateful for the continuing correspondence I am receiving. Whilst it is not possible to respond to all emails and letters individually, please be assured that I am reading all incoming mail.
I do not intend to change my position on the agreement negotiated by the Prime Minister, and will vote for that when it comes up in the Commons shortly. I am doing so because it is an agreement to Leave, which was the country’s decision following a Referendum process instigated by Parliament, which I believe I should abide by. It also represents an agreement of terms of leaving negotiated between the U.K. and the EU, which is in the best interests of trade, employment and mutual rights of citizens, and provides an opportunity to build a new relationship with the EU, recognising that nearly half our population did not wish to leave the EU in the first place.
If the Agreement is not accepted by Parliament, I think all current alternatives pose serious issues for the U.K., from leaving with No Deal, to a second referendum. There is more chance of ending our divisions if those on both sides of this very divisive issue accept the compromise position of the Agreement. Having voted to Remain in the EU I have accepted this compromise, in the best interests of the country and my constituents to try to end the bitterness of division.
If the Agreement vote is lost, I will regard my vote for it as fulfilling my commitment that I gave to constituents during the Referendum campaign: that I would accept the decision, but support a negotiated arrangement made by the Government. If such an arrangement is voted down by Parliament, therefore, then everyone, including me, will have to think again, and make the best choice possible in those circumstances.
At present, I do not know what that would be, but will continue to keep you updated via social media and the press.