Yesterday evening the House of Commons once again failed to find a clear majority for any alternative options on Brexit.
This is the second time the House has considered a wide variety of options for a way forward. I voted against all the amendments because, after weighing up all the options I am still of the opinion that the Withdrawal Agreement, which offers a managed withdrawal from the EU, is the best way to secure an orderly exit. The sticking point for many colleagues (as it was for me at the beginning) is still the backstop, but the further assurances and legal advice that the Government has secured support a view that this will now be of a temporary nature.
I have now – in line with the manifesto on which I was elected in 2017 – voted for the Withdrawal Agreement at each stage. The House of Commons’ decision on Friday not to endorse the Withdrawal Agreement means that the default legal position is that the UK will leave the EU in just 10 days’ time on April 12th unless further proceedings in the House of Commons attempt to change this situation. To secure any further extension to Article 50, the Government will have to put forward a credible proposition to the EU as to what the UK will do with that extra time. At the time of writing, I am not aware of any proposal from the Government.
Parliament has continuously rejected leaving without a deal, just as it has rejected not leaving at all. Therefore, I continue to believe that the best option is to find a way through which allows the UK to leave with a deal. This is what most businesses have been requesting. Cabinet has met to consider the results of yesterday’s votes and how we should proceed but as I write we do not have an update of any Government decision.
I continue to welcome representations from all constituents but you should appreciate that there is no consensus amongst those corresponding with this office. Every shade of opinion is reflected in the constituency from those who voted leave or remain or those who did not vote at all. As you would expect, I respect people's views but in the end I have to make the decision as to what I think is best for my constituency and country and I will continue to review the options at every stage and vote accordingly. I hope that my position would also be respected.