Updated Statement on Brexit

The Brexit business in the House of Commons is a mess. It is a mess of the UK Government’s and the Prime Minister’s making. Since my last update, little has changed.

Last week Parliament voted down the Prime Minister’s deal. It also voted to remove the ‘no deal’ option and to extend the Brexit deadline beyond the 29th March. I voted against the Prime Minister’s deal and in favour of removing no deal and extending the deadline.

The Prime Minister has failed to convince her own party on her deal, let alone the opposition or the country, that the UK-EU deal is good for the people of the UK. It divides the UK - the Backstop to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland allows Northern Ireland to remain aligned to the EU, in effect putting a border down the Irish Sea. This would have a negative impact on Welsh and English ports and communities. A Single Market and Customs arrangement with the EU would resolve this.

A no deal option would lead to chaos and tariffs with EU countries. An extension is sensible to avert further chaos. Indeed even Vote Leave said in 2016 we must take our time and get it right.

The delay to the negotiations lies firmly with the Prime Minister - she chose to go to court in an attempt to bypass Parliament, called the 2017 General Election in which she lost her Parliamentary majority and her clean/hard Brexit mandate. Since then she has been held hostage to the hard right in her party (the ERG) and the DUP.

She has failed to unite Parliament and the country and must change tact. I do accept the result of the 2017 General Election as I do the 2016 referendum. However, I pledged to reject ‘no deal’, retain the benefits of the Single Market and Customs Union and oppose the Conservative’s Bill on EU Withdrawal (Great Repeal Bill). I have stood by my pledge and voted accordingly.

I do understand there remains much division but we must get this right, for now and for the future. In the summer I made clear that if the Government/Parliament cannot sort out the Brexit mess then it should go back to the public for a final say. There is a move towards this certainty a confirmatory referendum is logical and is democratic.

Over the coming days and weeks all issues will be explored and I thank all those who have contacted me with diverse, often strong views. I pledge to do all I can for all my constituents and the country.

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