Rt Hon Cheryl Gillan, MP for Chesham & Amersham was called early in the debate on Article 50 and spoke in support of the legislation to obtain Parliamentary consent to start the formal process of the UK leaving the European Union. She said “It is a very small bill but it will have a substantial effect and it confirms this Parliament’s support for democracy”.
“While we are leaving the EU, we are not leaving Europe,” Cheryl Gillan said. “Europe is a fantastic place to call home: its diverse cultures, beautiful languages and unique history enriches all of us.”
But Mrs Gillan said that the European model of standardisation does not suit every country and the “one size fits all” approach is not appropriate.
Mrs Gillan, a former Secretary of State for Wales, also pointed out that Britain’s record on devolving power to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland could not be further away from the European experience.
“ The EU has consistently eroded national sovereignty and undermined the nation state, but most alarming it has been done against the will of the people.” The “key decision-makers in the European Commission are unelected and unaccountable,” said the MP.
Talk of the choice about a ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ Brexit is “ a false one”, Cheryl Gillan believes. “If a soft Brexit means staying in the Single Market with no controls on our borders and, crucially, the UK being subject to the European Court of Justice, then it isn’t really a Brexit at all.”
Mrs Gillan said she understood the disappointment of those people who voted to remain but that if you believe in democracy it is impossible to ignore the outcome of a referendum that MPs, at a rate of 10 to 1, voted to hold.
Freeing the UK from the institutions of the EU means that the UK can “remain a firm friend and ally to all the European countries with whom we have been working over decades to try and ensure peace, prosperity and stability” in Europe, said Mrs Gillan. “Not only will we want to keep an open trading relationship, but we will continue to work together on tackling international terrorism, crime and climate change.”
Britain won’t be confined by making this decision, Cheryl Gillan said. “This is an opportunity for Britain to freely extend its reach to the rest of the world: forging new friendships; building new alliances; and expanding into new markets.”
Cheryl Gillan concluded: “ I think there’s a bright future ahead of us. There’s a whole world out there, and I want to see a free, open, tolerant and self-determining Britain thrive in it.”