European Union (Withdrawal) Bill and local rail service
This week the House of Commons has been voting on Brexit. I have voted to reject the Lord’s amendments to the Bill. My position remains that the referendum result must be respected.
I keep being told that I should “put country before party”. Actually it’s precisely because the country decided in a referendum to leave the EU that I have consistently voted to implement the decision. It has nothing to do with party, and everything to do with democracy.
I appreciate that differing views are strongly and sincerely held on this issue. A minority clearly want me to reverse the referendum decision, while another minority fear that we will never leave (although in fact we will do so at the end of March next year - the Commons has already voted for this). But I believe the vast majority of my constituents just want the decision to be implemented swiftly and sensibly.
The Prime Minister has said that the key aim is to regain control of our money, our borders and our laws. The problem with the various options which the Lords have proposed, such as staying in the single market, is that they would not meet these objectives.
So we need to achieve a bespoke new deal for the UK, and this - together with a sensible transition period - is what the Government is aiming to do.
While Brexit commands much time and attention, domestic issues are high on my agenda. On Tuesday I separately met Network Rail’s Chief Executive, GTR’s Passenger Services Director and the Transport Secretary to raise my concerns about rail services in Hassocks. I have called a short debate on the issue in Westminster Hall next Tuesday to which a Minister will have to respond.
Trains are still being delayed or cancelled, short trains are overcrowded and peak-time services have been withdrawn from the new timetable. Hassocks is the tenth busiest station in West Sussex, serving 1.3 million passengers a year, and this situation is totally unacceptable.
On Friday I will have a meeting at Steyning Grammar School, visit the Hepworth Brewery near Adversane and hold surgeries in Pulborough. I will be attending various events in Arundel, Partridge Green and Petworth on Saturday and Sunday, including a visit to the Petworth House (Real) Tennis Court.