Richards speech in the debate to trigger Article 50
1st February 2017
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Making the best of Brexit
23 January 2017
The question for MPs like me who campaigned hard for Britain to remain in the EU is a simple one. Do I seek to undermine the decision taken in the referendum by being a sort of Parliamentary insurgent opposing Brexit at every stage, or do I engage with the process to help to ensure we get the best deal possible?
The risk from just being one of the “noises off” is that you are just that: off. I want to be on the pitch, holding up a liberal conservative view that believes in free trade and wants a deep and dynamic relationship with our European friends and allies in the future. We live in a world that is fast changing. Many jobs in which people currently feel secure, won’t exist in a few years’ time because of the advancement of automation and robotics. The ability of companies in West Berkshire to trade successfully will depend on being part of supply chains or grouping of businesses, some of which may be based both inside and outside the EU. The future, while full of opportunity, is complex and for many, scary.
So clarity is everything. I now accept that seeking an arrangement like Norway’s won’t work. This is where we would still pay into the EU, would still be subject to free movement of labour and all the other conditions of membership of the single market. The Eurosceptic ultras have a malign view of Europe, its cultures and traditions. They must not be allowed to become the established UK view. The Europhile ultras seem to want to ignore a democratic process and just whine and whinge from the side-lines. I will recognise the referendum result by supporting the triggering of Article 50 and will engage with leavers and remainers who share my dislike of the ultras on both sides. I will push for a deal that serves the needs of West Berkshire businesses and those who work for them. This will need understanding and support from the vast majority of my constituents who occupy the centre ground view that what we need is neither a hard or soft Brexit, but a clever one.
Richard’s contribution to the debate on Leaving the EU: the Rural Economy
17 January 2017
Richard’s contribution to this Opposition Day debate in the House of Commons on Tuesday 17 January can be read here or viewed here
The PM’s speech on Brexit at Lancaster House
17 January 2017
Listen to the PM’s speech in full on BBC 2’s Daily Politics programme, available (until 15 February) on BBC iplayer: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b08bgqpd/daily-politics-17012017
Richard’s response to the issue of Parliamentary approval for leaving the EU
Thank you for contacting me about Parliamentary approval for leaving the EU. As you may well know by now, I have made it clear that I will be voting for Article 50.
As with all matters relating to the referendum, how I vote in any Parliamentary measure in relation to Article 50 will upset roughly half of my constituents and delight the rest. However, despite the recent judgement, I believe that this is a procedural and unavoidable next step, given the situation in which we find ourselves. While the vote didn't go the way I wanted I am a democrat and recognise the decision taken by the country in a referendum approved by an Act of Parliament. The Government is determined to deliver on this. I accept that it is the Government's right to decide when to trigger Article 50 and the Prime Minister has made it clear that she wants to do this by March next year. I am surprised by people who are appealing for me to support calls for another referendum and to use all means in Parliament to thwart the wishes of the majority. It is worth considering what they would say if the referendum result had been different and those supporting "leave" were calling for a rejection of the result.
In my view, it is what follows that is really important. Parliament will of course have a say on withdrawal, not least through the Great Repeal Bill. Due to be introduced in the next Parliamentary session, this will remove the European Communities Act 1972 from the statute book. This means that the legislation which gives direct effect to all EU law in Britain, will no longer apply from the date upon which the UK formally leaves the EU. The existing body of EU law will be converted to UK law wherever practical and Parliament will be free to amend, repeal and improve any law that it chooses.
It will be as this Bill goes through Parliament, together with Parliament's role in scrutinising the details of the deal that is to be negotiated with our EU partners that the real battle will commence. This is where my mandate from the vote in West Berkshire will come in and I am determined to get the best possible outcome for the individuals and businesses that I represent. The country voted to leave the European Union; it didn't vote on how we should leave.