It is a fast moving picture as we near the vote on the Government’s withdrawal agreement and it is a good time to let you know where I stand.
- I supported the decision to hold a referendum on whether or not Britain should be a member of the EU.
- Following that referendum I stated my clear intention to respect the decision of the electorate to leave the EU.
- I have consistently supported the Government in delivering Brexit in votes in the House of Commons. Those knife edge votes were fundamental to delivering Brexit.
- I have worked with Ministers and civil servants on details of legislation on which I have expertise to help make Brexit a success.
- And it is my intention to support the Government in the vote on the withdrawal agreement.
- I will be supporting the Government in the coming weeks to get Brexit legislation into place before Britain leaves the EU on 29th March.
You may have seen that I supported an amendment to the Finance Bill on 8th January. The purpose of this amendment was to give Parliament a check to prevent Britain leaving with no deal.
There are a small number of MPs who actively support Britain leaving with no deal and a slightly larger number for whom leaving with no deal is preferable to the Government’s deal. I disagree.
- I have spoken to business managers in West Berkshire and many have told me of the complications of their supply chains and their fears of the impact of a no deal exit.
- I have spoken to people who employ thousands of staff in businesses across the country who do not share the breezy confidence of some about our ability to cope with a no deal exit.
- I have also spoken to Ministers who have had briefings from civil servants and others in which they have heard of likely disruption and genuine security fears of no deal. I accept that in time our economy would be able to manage most of the problems described, but the short to medium term effects would be serious.
- The Treasury Select Committee consists of MPs with a range of views on Brexit but, after taking many hours of evidence from many experts, reached the unanimous conclusion that the impact on our economy of leaving with no deal in GDP terms would be worse than the post banking crisis recession. That means people will lose their jobs and the security that brings for them and their families. The report can be seen here.
I have therefore on two occasions in Parliament voted for measures which make no deal less likely. Neither of these votes have undermined the Government’s attempts to secure a deal or to deliver Brexit. I have even been privately thanked by Ministers who share my concerns. I simply want to secure the right Brexit for those I represent and for the country and to give Parliament a say in what happens.
My position has been consistent throughout.
- I voted remain, but my side lost.
- I am a democrat and respect the result of that referendum.
- I am opposed to having a second referendum.
- I hope the Government’s agreement secures a majority in Parliament. At the time of posting this update that scenario looks unlikely. We are then in uncharted waters but I will do all I can to ensure we leave the EU on 29th March with a deal.