Brexit Statement

21 October 2019 Brexit Statement:

 

I believe that the Government needs to implement the referendum result as it committed to doing both before and after the referendum at the last general election. I also note that in Central Bedfordshire in the European elections this year Brexit secured 57% of the votes again as it did in the referendum. In regard to the 2016 referendum, as academic analysis by the Library points out, 409 out of the 650 constituencies had leave majorities. That was on an 80% turnout, far higher than any turnout we are elected on at a general election.

Over the past two and a bit years, we have a Parliament that thinks it knows better than the public who this Parliament explicitly gave the decision to. We have a Parliament that thinks it is acceptable to use representative democracy to defeat direct democracy, a direct democracy explicitly agreed and voted for by this Parliament under manifestos committed to enacting the referendum result.

Regarding this new deal,

Put simply, this new deal means:

  • Britain is out of all EU laws. We will be able to change our laws in a huge number of areas – from product standards to fishing rules to farming subsidies – where we are currently bound by EU rules.
  • We will be able to strike our own free trade deals. We will have an unqualified right to strike our own trade deals around the world, and the whole UK will participate in them. 
  • European Court supremacy ends in Britain. It will be our courts, applying our laws, which will be the highest authority in the land.
  • We will be in control of our taxes. We will be able to change VAT rules and other tax laws that are currently determined by Brussels.
  • Northern Ireland will be in the UK customs territory forever. There is now no doubt that Northern Ireland remains part of the UK’s customs territory and will benefit from the free trade deals we strike.
  • The anti-democratic backstop has been abolished. The people of Northern Ireland will be in charge of the laws that they live by, and – unlike the backstop – will have the right to end the special arrangement if they so choose.

Northern Ireland

  • There will be a special arrangement for Northern Ireland, reflecting the unique circumstances there. We will guarantee – and reinforce – the peace process and avoid any issues at the border.
  • Northern Ireland will have no hard border with the Republic or Great Britain, and will remain forever part of the UK customs territory. Northern Ireland will have access to the Single Market, but also be part of UK trade deals negotiated around the world.
  • Crucially, this arrangement will be underpinned by the principle of democratic consent, through the ability to leave the special arrangement via a democratic vote in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Workers' rights and environmental protections

  • The UK has a long and proud tradition of leading the way in workers’ rights and environmental protections where we have always set a high standard.
  • We recognise that MPs want to see these hard won rights protected, not weakened by our departure from the EU and we are happy to ensure this is the case.
  • Both the public and parliamentarians should be in no doubt that as we leave the EU we will maintain and increase these protections both via the Withdrawal Agreement and future legislation.

Businesses back the new Brexit deal 

  • The 100 Group, who represent the views of the Finance Directors of FTSE 100, welcomed the deal saying it provides the much needed certainty and confidence UK businesses need. ‘At a time of rapid change for UK business, we welcome today’s announcement that progress has been made in agreeing a Brexit deal with the EU, offering the potential opportunity to provide much need certainty and confidence in the UK economy for UK business’ (The 100 Group, 17 October 2019).
  • The Business Services Association described the deal as a huge success and urged MPs ‘for the sake of the whole of the UK’ to vote for the deal. ‘A Brexit Deal Huge personal success for Boris Johnson. For the sake of the whole of the UK Parliament needs to approve it and allow the country to move on’ (Twitter, Mark Fox, 18 October 2019).
  • The Remain campaign chairman supports the deal and told MPs businesses want to move forward. Remain campaign chairman Lord Rose of Monewden said: ‘this deal is now the best deal we’ll get and certainly it is better, absolutely, than a hard Brexit and I think we’ve just got to move on. I support it, I hope that business will’ (BBC Radio 4, The Today Programme, 18 October 2019).
  • Make UK support the Prime Minister’s new deal and applauded the successful renegotiation with the EU. Stephen Phipson, CBE, Chief Executive of Make UK, The Manufacturers’ organisation said: ‘I warmly congratulate the Government for negotiating an agreement which values trade, creates a plan for our departure and, vitally, prioritises the avoidance of a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. The flexibility shown by both our Government and the EU is something we long called for and now applaud. An alternative to a disastrous no deal exit is now in plain sight’ (Make UK, 18 October 2019).
  • The Investment Association welcomed the deal, stating ‘now a new deal is on the table, it’s important that politicians on all sides come together’. Chief executive of the Investment Association Chris Cummings said: ‘today’s deal provides welcome certainty to the investment management industry and the millions of savers and investors it serves […] Now a new deal is on the table, it’s important that politicians on all sides come together in order to avoid the damaging effects of a cliff edge no deal’ (City A.M., 17 October 2019).
  • London First urged MPs to back the deal and work towards a strong future relationship with the EU. “’We would urge MPs to back this compromise deal and to focus on negotiating the best long-term relationship possible with the EU, so the future starts to look brighter”’ (Twitter, London First, 17 October 2019).

I intend to vote for the deal because it honours the referendum result, returning back control over our money, laws, borders, and trade while protecting people’s jobs and the economy. Parliament committed to respecting the referendum result. I voted against the Letwin amendment on Saturday. I genuinely believe it is the right thing to do for my constituents to honour the two democratic decisions they made in 2016 and in the 2019 European elections to leave the European Union and to do so in a sensible way by voting for the deal which has just been agreed. 

The continued uncertainly and delay is extremely damaging to the economy, I think that business needs certainty and we've had three and a half years of uncertainty. As soon as we have direction and clarity, we can begin to focus on the many other priorities of the British people.