My Position on Brexit
My position on Brexit remains the same: while I campaigned in the referendum to remain, I accepted the public’s decision. I made it clear in my election address in 2017 that I believed the result had to be respected, and I voted to trigger Article 50 to begin the process of leaving.
I have always said that I would far prefer to leave with a deal, and I voted three times for the Withdrawal Agreement. However, despite my concerns about ‘no deal’, I have also said that it must be kept on the table. I therefore did not support previous attempts in Parliament to prevent us leaving, and I voted against the latest attempt this week.
I believe it will be harder to persuade the EU to address the issue of the backstop, and therefore enable a revised deal to be struck, if they believe we will delay Brexit once again. This is a shame because I believe Boris Johnson is serious about wanting a deal, and that there is a chance of securing one.
I strongly opposed the idea of Proroguing Parliament right up until 31 October, the day when we are due to leave the EU, but in announcing a Queen’s Speech this is not what the Prime Minister has done. The House of Commons was due to rise for three weeks for the ‘Conference Recess’ this month anyway, as in previous years, so the real effect will be to lose only around five sitting days.
I do not believe this is a constitutional outrage, and it did not prevent the House of Commons’ vote this week. The Speaker’s willingness to bend constitutional convention in order to take control from the Government is actually a greater concern.
It has been over three years since the referendum decision, and we cannot keep delaying our exit, prolonging damaging uncertainty. We must therefore be ready to leave without a deal on 31 October if necessary, but I still hope that the Prime Minister will be able to reach a new agreement with the EU next month so that we can leave in an orderly fashion.
For me this has nothing to do with Party concerns. The national interest must come first, and that means adhering to fundamental democratic principles. The people voted to leave, narrowly but decisively, and I believe Parliament has a duty to honour their decision.