I have received a number of emails similar to the one below:
“I am writing to you to ask you to give the people the final say on the Brexit deal.
A lot has changed since 2016. At this point, the safest route must be to give this decision back to the people, giving them the choice between any deal negotiated by the Government and remaining in the EU.
Democracy relies on people being given opportunities to change their minds if they want to do so.
Please use your position of public trust to act in the national interest and support plans for a People's Vote”
A lot has indeed changed since 2016. On Brexit, a lot changes every 24 hours to be honest.
I still believe that the best response to the Referendum of 2016 is for Parliament to find an agreed pathway to Leave the EU, with an agreement for the future for a strong relationship between us. This is the view of one who voted to Remain in the EU, but who has accepted the Referendum consequences, and is looking ahead in the interests of the country as a whole, and working across Party to do so.
My hesitation on a People’s Vote remains that although some want the choice indicated above, between any deal and remaining in the EU, others want a vote to include a no deal option, or a different deal to the one which emerges.
A second concern is that I do not see evidence that the public mood is radically different from 2016. The country is still heavily divided, perhaps as near to 50/50 as makes no difference. The Referendum result might be confirmed. And a narrow reverse of the 2016 Referendum would solve little - I cannot see that the arguments would end, and a further Referendum would be inevitable. Neither the UK nor the EU can go on like this. The best chance for us both in the future is to Leave, but Leave well.
However, in this uncertain time, and while I urge compromise on all my colleagues, as I have attempted to demonstrate personally, I am not completely shutting my mind to a confirmatory vote, if it becomes the only way for Parliament to find an answer. I’m grateful that many people have contacted me on this. But I do worry, for the reasons above, that it might not give the clarity that some wish for, to end this chapter so that NE Bedfordshire can move on.