Brexit: Meaningful Vote

14th January 2019

Parliament’s meaningful vote on the Government’s withdrawal agreement with the EU this week may be the most important vote since the Second World War and certainly during my 26 years as a Member of Parliament as it will affect the people of this country for decades to come.

Whilst, I admire the Prime Minister’s determination to get the best deal for this country, I believe that it is flawed in a number of key aspects, especially regarding the treatment of Northern Ireland’s customs arrangements under the backstop. One of the DUP’s “red lines” is that Northern Ireland must remain part of the United Kingdom and should be treated accordingly.

The DUP have every right to vote against this deal and without their ongoing support, this Government will not survive until the General Election in 2022.

The enormous dilemma for me has been whether to vote against this deal because it is defective and risk either a no-deal scenario and the ensuing uncertainty or a coalition of remain-backing MPs blocking Brexit entirely.

Last week’s shenanigans by the Speaker, who effectively tore up the parliamentary rule book making the possibility that we will never leave far stronger. This finally convinced me that I must vote for the deal which will honour the result of the referendum, 2017 election and the overwhelming triggering of Article 50 by Parliament. This deal will see us leave the EU on 29th March 2019 and hopefully any defects can be subsequently clarified or renegotiated.

We must provide certainty for the people and businesses so that normality can prevail and our country can prosper.

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