Published in November 2018
As an MP, it’s fair to say that a lot of people want to talk to me about Brexit. Rightly so, it is one of the biggest issues facing our country. Over the past few weeks, months and years I have spoken to thousands of people about Brexit. The message from them has been consistent and clear: help the Prime Minister to get on with the job and deliver the best Brexit deal for our country.
Theresa May has an incredibly tough job. I think everyone accepts this. No Prime Minister since Winston Churchill has faced such a difficult task. Despite this, she has managed to agree, in principle, the terms of the UK's withdrawal from the European Union, as well as the terms of our future relationship.
Let me be clear about what this deal means. It maintains jobs, security and the integrity of the United Kingdom. Whilst at the same time giving us complete control over our immigration policy, our laws and our money. We will leave the Common Fisheries Policy, so we have control over our waters once again, and leave the Common Agricultural Policy.
Furthermore, this deal also protects the rights of more than three million EU citizens living in the UK, and the one million UK nationals living in the EU. We will be free to strike free trade deals with the rest of the world, and will establish a free trade area with the European Union, with zero tariffs and quotas.
This is a pragmatic deal that provides certainty. Business organisations like the Federation of Small Businesses and the CBI have backed it, and local employers like Royal Mail, BAE Systems and Iceland Foods support the deal.
Many local Labour MPs want to ignore the result of the last referendum and have a re-run. They are calling for a ‘People’s Vote’, or in other words, another referendum. The damage this would do to trust in politics would be profound. In a democracy you have got to accept the results. People voted to leave the European Union, and as Members of Parliament we must deliver.
Others argue that this deal does not deliver what people voted for. I disagree. It is a deal that delivers on the result of the referendum and protects jobs and the economy, while taking back control of our money, laws and borders. It delivers full market access for goods, economic certainty, and resolution of the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.
I accept that some will call this deal a compromise. And it is. But as Michael Gove – one of the leaders of Vote Leave - said recently “Does it deliver 100 per cent of what I wanted? No. But then we didn’t win 100 per cent of the vote on June 23 2016.”
The vast majority of people I meet just want to get on with Brexit, and put the divisions of the referendum behind us. Those who voted to remain two years ago want us to get a deal in the best interests of our country. To pretend that Brexit would be simple – if only somebody else was in charge – is naïve. The Prime Minister, Ministers across the government and Civil Servants have worked long and hard to get a pragmatic resolution to the hundreds of issues brought about by Brexit, and to achieve this deal.