The people have spoken: Britain will leave the EU. I am of course deeply disappointed that, while my side may have won in West Berkshire, we failed in the country at large. We will have to see whether the fears of those of us who wanted to remain were overstated or if the promises of the leave campaign can be fulfilled. Along with people who have opposed me in politics in West Berkshire for years, I fought hard to keep us in the EU. I didn’t do this out of any starry-eyed love of the EU or its institutions but principally because it is better for our economy and our security. Now the realisation is starting to sink in. Scotland, the Irish border, the Gibraltar border, the frontier at Calais, the markets, Sterling, the need to continue compliance with all EU regulations for a free market, re-issuing passports, British people living abroad, EU citizens living in Britain, the mountain of legislation to be torn up and rewritten. All of this has now to be sorted out.
The referendum has divided families, friends and work colleagues. Some say the result is the baby-boomer generation “doing over” the younger generation. Others say if more young had voted it wouldn’t have happened. Perhaps we can all spend too much time trying to over-analyse something that has happened. Time would be better spent looking ahead. Whatever people feel, there will now be lots of work in Parliament as we seek to find the best way to implement the will of the country. I will, of course, respect the referendum result but I need to find a way of Britain leaving the EU that has the least adverse impact on the lives of my constituents. That will require an open mind as I seek to do something that I campaigned hard to prevent. I hope I can have the support of everyone in West Berkshire, regardless of how they voted. We need to respect the democratic process and find a way of doing this and uniting our fractured nation at the same time.