Statement on the EU Deal

I have always tried to be independent minded when it comes to Brexit.  It is an issue that is too important to simply toe the line, keep your head down and let others make the difficult choices.  This has led to me to vote against the Government on several occasions.  I fought hard, and endured a torrent of abuse, to deliver the meaningful vote for MPs, which will take place on the 11th of December.

My guiding principle when voting against the Government has been to be constructive.  If I have voted against a proposal, I have sought to provide a workable alternative.  To vote against this deal would not be constructive.  It would in fact be destructive.  It would either destroy the prospect of Brexit happening at all, or would have a hugely destructive impact on the economy by ensuring our departure without a deal.  Neither of these are good options, so I will be voting for this deal.

We should not allow the best to be the enemy of the good.  This deal is not perfect, but the Prime Minister has done remarkable work putting together a compromise as good as this.  Both sides have made concessions, but I applaud the PM for her determination and skill in delivering this deal.  I do not believe that anyone else could have achieved what she has, let alone a better deal. 

Over the last two years I have read countless emails, I have run a number of surveys and spoken to as many of my constituents as possible.  I can say my constituents hold a full range of views, from stopping Brexit entirely to crashing out without a deal, and every shade in between.

The agreement does not give any one group everything they want, but it does have something for everyone.  It puts in place controls on migration, protects jobs in the manufacturing industry and frees us from the political institutions of the EU.  Most of all it gets us out of the EU, and it respects the referendum result.

Those who would advocate an alternative course should remember that we are running out of time, as I write this we have just 124 days until we leave with no deal at all.

As the Prime Minister said, the choices are the deal, no deal or no Brexit.  I cannot support the economic consequences of no deal, therefore in order to deliver the referendum result I must support this deal.

I want to see the Prime Minister’s deal succeed.  Should that fail I believe that an EEA/EFTA style deal is the only option that commands a majority of the House and that it best represents all the voters in the 2016 referendum, being out but close to the EU.  This is what the press refer to as ‘Plan B’.  If you would like more detail about this please see the debate that I led in January 2018.

However, should all other options be rejected, I would not be willing to countenance a no deal Brexit because of the huge damage it would do to jobs and employment in Eddisbury and across the North West.  At that point all options would be open, including a Peoples’ Vote.

I know that there are a huge range of views on this subject and I don’t imagine for a moment that I can please everyone – in fact I may have managed to upset every group by setting out my proposed course of action.  What I hope my constituents will recognise is that each and every MP will agonise over this decision and none will take it lightly.  Each and every MP will vote with their conscience and put the interests of their constituency first.  I can make one commitment to all my constituents.  I will work to build a consensus and I will always put my constituents and country first.