Statement on the Withdrawal Agreement Vote

I said during the debate on this deal that I would be voting with the Prime Minister to deliver my commitment to constituents to try to implement Brexit.  Despite my reservations I have backed the Prime Minister’s deal.  While it is not perfect, it is good enough and the deal deserved to pass.

The Labour Party has completely shirked its responsibility to act in the national interest and instead sought to play party politics at every juncture.  Jeremy Corbyn’s willingness to put his own ambition above the interests of the nation demonstrate clearly why he should never be allowed to lead this country.

Unfortunately the deal has also been undermined by hard-line Brexiteers trying to force a no-deal Brexit on the UK in flagrant breach of their previous promises.  On Tuesday they demonstrated just how irresponsible they are, by voting against a good deal and risking economic chaos by trying to force a no-deal Brexit on the UK.

In light of their behaviour and the vote in Parliament all MPs must now consider how to move forward.

Parliament must act on a cross-party basis to protect the UK’s interests and try to deliver an achievable compromise on Brexit.  My view is that a Common Market 2.0 style deal could win a majority in Parliament and that it sets out a workable compromise which respects the closeness of the 2016 referendum.

If hard-line Brexiteers continue to obstruct any viable compromise all other options must be on the table.  It is vital that Parliament unites without delay otherwise the risk of a no-deal Brexit would force many MPs into backing a potentially divisive second referendum.

No deal would be catastrophic for this country, our economy and jobs in my community.  It would be a hammer blow to hard-pressed farmers and would destroy the high paid jobs in pharmaceuticals, chemicals and many other industries.  Despite my fears for a second referendum, if pressed to choose, I would have to back it over no deal.

Thankfully we have not reached that point.  As such I plan to continue to support the Prime Minister’s deal, however this defeat has made clear that other options for Brexit must be examined.  I set out in detail why Common Market 2.0 – also known as a Norway/EEA style deal – would work for the country here.

There will be some who say this does not deliver Brexit and others who demand any one of a hundred other options ranging from staying in the EU to leaving without a deal.  My support for Common Market 2.0 is a hard headed assessment of what has a chance of success in Parliament and the country.

If you have not done so already, please do complete my Brexit survey as I want to put my constituents at the centre of my decision making in the next few weeks.

Regardless of where the next few weeks lead, please rest assured I will act in the interests of our community and country at all times.