On the 15th January, the Withdrawal Agreement was put before the House of Commons. This Agreement would:
- Respect the referendum taking back control of our laws, our money and our borders and allowing us to trade with our friends and allies around the world.
- Safeguard our economy, with large local employers like GE Aviation and Prysmian supporting the deal.
- Offer a compromise around which we can begin to heal our political divisions.
- Retain close diplomatic links to the EU while paving the way for a new trade relationship with our closest neighbours.
- And avoid both the dangers of No Deal or No Brexit.
Nonetheless, Parliament, primarily down to MPs looking to frustrate this process and stop us from leaving the EU altogether, voted this Deal down.
This outcome helps no-one, gets us no further forward & means that the deadlock continues for communities, businesses & jobs. That’s why I am actively supporting our focus on key next steps in the House of Commons which must come together & work out a way forward for ALL as the 29th March closes in. Over and above everything is that there is no reason why we couldn’t leave the EU on the 29th March, and I absolutely do not want to see a long, drawn out extension of Article 50, a view that I have shared with the Prime Minister.
For those who back no deal, I do understand this sentiment. Many have said that they feel that the UK should leave the EU on the 29th March on WTO rules. However, as we continue to celebrate record high employment in the UK, with The Resolution Foundation saying:
“low-income households, disadvantaged groups and traditionally low employment urban areas are benefitting most from Britain’s jobs boom.”
As a Member of Parliament, I have a responsibility to listen to local employers large and small across our area – such as Southampton Airport who I visited last Friday, and Proteum who I visited the week before. Both have shown me that, while they are taking a pragmatic approach to Brexit, leaving the EU without a deal would affect LOCAL jobs.
Some have said that they feel people were not ‘informed’ ahead of the referendum, and that therefore their vote to leave should not count. To those people I say that every home in the country was sent a pamphlet by the Government making VERY clear what leaving the EU could mean, and regardless, 52.5% of those that voted in the referendum in Eastleigh, voted to leave the EU. The turnout in that election was one of the highest recorded in any election in our constituency at 78.2%.
Others have said that they feel that there should be a second referendum. The vast majority of those pushing this option would privately prefer that we never left the EU, and the so called ‘Peoples Vote’ campaign is nothing more than a disingenuous ploy to reverse the result of the referendum.
But very quickly, let’s look at the political alternatives.
• Labour – Continue to fail to present their own Brexit plan, with many of their MPs continuing to support remaining in the EU and, unlike Union Leaders, Party Leaders and leading MPs, the Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn continues to refuse a meeting with the Prime Minister.
• Lib Dems – Have made clear that they wish to use a Second Referendum to ignore the result of the referendum and reverse the decision of 17.4 million voted for.
• UKIP – Have demonstrated how their plan would have no regard for safeguarding jobs or our economy, nor heal our nations divisions.
In contrast, I am absolutely committed to delivering on the result of the EU Referendum and ensuring that we leave the European Union in a smooth and orderly way – and getting on with it - and that will be my continued mission. I have made VERY clear that I would not support a long, drawn out extension to Article 50, and while I would prefer to avoid leaving on WTO rules, I would support this, over the extension of Article 50, which would just lead to even more uncertainty and frustrate this process even further.