Next week MPs will make one of the most important decisions in our post-war history; a decision which has the power to shape our country and economic future for decades to come.
At the time of the referendum, I voted to remain as I took, and still hold, the view that we could not get a better deal than the one we already had with the EU. However, we held the referendum and I made a pledge to implement the result, and to do so responsibly. That is why I voted for Article 50 and the EU Withdrawal Act, despite my misgivings. This is not a perfect deal, and like many of my colleagues I continue to have concerns about it, but it does deliver the referendum result. I therefore feel honour-bound to vote for it, believing that it delivers that result in a responsible way.
This deal delivers in a number of areas. It gives the UK tariff-free, quota-free access to EU markets, while ensuring that we are out of free movement and have control of our agriculture and fisheries. More importantly, it keeps us out of ever-closer union. Does this deal live up to the promises made in the referendum? No - nothing could. We were promised that Brexit would be easy, that we would have the exact same benefits outside the EU as before and that we held all the cards in the upcoming negotiations. Those who promised sunlit uplands now criticise a deal that necessarily requires compromise. To choose WTO terms over this deal would be an act of the utmost irresponsibility.
For the past two years, I have been a member of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee. Over many weeks and months, I have heard evidence from countless businesses, including those who provide employment to my constituents, about the impact of Brexit and the need for certainty and stability. This week I received an e-mail from a constituent, a local businessman who employs a thousand people, which echoes much of the evidence I have heard in the Select Committee. My constituent wrote, “our business has endured significant hardship. Not all of this can be directly attributed to Brexit but the deterioration in sterling has impacted costs and economic uncertainty has made long term investment decisions next to impossible… The forthcoming vote in parliament provides our country with an opportunity to bring about a little more certainty and stability.”
My constituent is not alone in this view. A number of local employers have also written to me this week, urging me to back the Prime Minister’s deal as a means of ensuring a pragmatic and sensible departure from the EU which provides confidence and clarity about the trading environment in the immediate future. Below are a number of the letters I have received:
I have also received a letter from Clay Burrows, Managing Director of Aviagen Turkeys. Having spoken with Mr. Burrows, he has informed me that, as with the UK poultry meat sector as a whole, he believes that a no-deal would be disastrous business and wants to see a no-deal taken off the table. He believes that businesses now need reassurance and certainty from the Government on a future deal.
I have a duty to put the interests of my constituents first. The Prime Minister’s deal may not be perfect but it will at least provide certainty and confidence, and in so doing protect future jobs in Eddisbury, rather than unimaginable chaos which crashing out of the EU without a deal would bring. It is for these reasons that I will be voting for the Prime Minister’s deal next Tuesday.