Firstly can I thank those constituents who have so kindly sent me condolences on the death of my husband. This has been a truly difficult time for me but I continue to work – as I did throughout his illness – and attend parliament so that I can fulfil my duty at this crucial time for our country. The funeral will be held later this month.
Yesterday in my capacity as Vice Chairman of the 1922 Committee I met with the Prime Minister. The 1922 Executive set out their views and she reiterated that delivering Brexit and the result of the referendum remains her top priority.
She confirmed that because Parliament has made clear it will stop the UK leaving without a deal, the options for the way forward have narrowed to a stark choice: leave the European Union with a deal or do not leave at all.
The Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition have different opinions on a number of issues, but on Brexit there are areas where the two main parties could agree: both want to end free movement, both want to leave with a good deal, and both want to protect jobs. These common factors could be a basis for a compromise that could win a majority in Parliament which could deliver on both parties manifesto promises.
The Prime Minister has said that she will stand down after she has delivered a Brexit deal but continues to leave no stone unturned in seeking an outcome to this complex issue. She is travelling today (9 April) to Berlin and Paris to ascertain German and French support for her request to extend the Article 50 deadline. She will then go to Brussels this week to attend the emergency Council of Ministers meeting to confirm her request for a short extension to Article 50. The intention is to reach an agreement with fellow EU leaders that will mean if we can agree a deal here at home we can leave the EU in just six weeks.
Provided this is successful and we can also achieve a majority in Parliament for an agreement we can then get on with building a new relationship with our nearest neighbours that will unlock the full potential of Brexit and deliver the brighter future that 17.4 million people voted for in the Referendum.
Yesterday we also had votes on the Bill that returned from the House of Lords which aimed to force the Prime Minister to ask for an extension to Article 50. As she has already written to the Council to that effect I considered this piece of legislation to be unnecessary and voted against the amendments. However the Bill passed and received Royal Assent last night.
I continue to receive representations from all sides of the debate together with requests for another referendum. I still do not believe that another referendum would do other than divide our country still further and I do not consider other options “come into play” until this current process has been fully explored and exhausted.