What MPs say about Brexit - and what they really mean

With only six weeks until Brexit is due on 29 March I thought it would be helpful to explain what MPs are currently saying and what they really mean.

“Take ‘no-deal’ off the table.”  Usually demanded by MPs who have refused to back a deal.  Code for delaying Brexit or even ditching it altogether.  There’s no other way to prevent ‘no-deal’.  Unless of course they finally decide to vote for a deal.

“People’s vote”.  A euphemism for a second referendum.  Usually demanded by MPs who voted for the first referendum, and stood on party manifestos promising to implement the result, but have now changed their minds.

“Running down the clock”.  The accusation that the Prime Minister is building pressure on MPs to decide between ‘no-deal’ and her deal.  Usually made by MPs who have systematically opposed any deal for months while the clock runs down.

“Short-term disruption”.  The admission by proponents of ‘no-deal’ that leaving without a deal could damage our economy.  Usually made by MPs who don’t have significant manufacturers or ports in their constituencies.

“WTO Rules”.  Putting tariffs - taxes on goods we export or import - on half of our trade where currently there are none.  We try and do free trade deals with other countries to avoid WTO Rules, but apparently now they’re a great thing.

“The Withdrawal Treaty can’t be amended”.  Usually asserted by MPs who don’t want to support the deal, however it is amended.  In fact, as I pointed out in the Commons this week, Ireland secured changes to the Lisbon Treaty after it was agreed, by way of a legally-binding protocol.

The sensible way forward to implement the referendum decision is for the EU to agree changes to address concerns over the Irish backstop, and MPs then to agree the deal.

We would avoid the risks associated with ‘no-deal’, end the uncertainty, and the UK would then leave the EU but with a pragmatic transition period.

We would then complete a new free trade deal with the EU, forging a close economic and security partnership, but control our borders, our money and our laws.

Four out of five MPs voted less than two years ago to trigger ‘Article 50’, beginning the timetabled process of leaving the EU.  It is time to stop playing parliamentary games and honour the democratic decision of the British people.

If you would like to get in touch with me, please e-mail me at nick@nickherbert.com.