– Brexit update –

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– Brexit update –

I campaigned for a referendum on our relationship with Europe for over 20 years. I began my political career in the Referendum Party in 1996. I have always been a eurosceptic.

I will never forget (although it seems some have) that it was the Conservative Party led by David Cameron who gave the country an in/out referendum.

Once David Cameron began his renegotiation it became clear to me that the EU were never going to listen to him. With a heavy heart I told the then Prime Minister that I didn’t believe he would achieve anything and I would have to campaign to leave https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-35221167

17.4 million people voted to leave but we must also acknowledge that over 16 million people voted to remain. If I only speak with friends and colleagues who share my opinions I have my views confirmed. We are all a bit guilty of that and I try very hard to see everyone’s point of view.

What we have heard from Chequers is the headline statement. There are 120 pages of detail and I haven’t yet had the opportunity to see them and nor has anyone else. From what I have seen I have real concerns. This is not what I voted for but I have no idea what over 17 million other people voted for when they voted to leave the EU.

I do know many people voted purely on immigration and others on sovereignty. I voted leave because I didn’t want our laws made by unelected Commissioners in Brussels, rubber stamped by MEP’s who no one has ever heard of and upheld by the European Court of Justice. I do not recognise the flag or the anthem. But that is not the same reason as others and that’s why it’s difficult, more likely impossible, to please everyone.

We either make a deal about future trade with the EU or we leave and go onto WTO rules. That would not be easy and would create an economic shock. Not one we couldn’t recover from but a hit to growth and the economy nevertheless.

In short we are leaving and need to be careful not to get hung up on the detail. Out is out, what comes after is about trade.

More detail and the White Paper will emerge during this week and MPs will have a chance to vote on trade and customs the following week.

I don’t believe this is right versus wrong, left versus right or Theresa May versus Jeremy Corbyn, this is about getting the best deal for our country so that we can continue to grow our economy and fund our public services.

I think David Davis’ resignation has highlighted the challenge we face. I believe he realised that what he wanted and promised to deliver is not deliverable. What I want is what we could have had if we had never gone in, that is no longer an option.

If you don’t get married you don’t risk a break up and you can chart your own course, albeit perhaps less fulfilled and satisfying. But if you do and then you want a divorce it is rarely straightforward. It is probably painful and there has to be compromise on who keeps what.

This is where we are with our negotiations. We are talking about trade, customs, immigration and arbitration. In short, we are arguing about who gets to keep the dog or the CD’s. We’ll get there eventually but throwing our toys out of the pram and walking away has to be the last resort and I don’t think we’re there yet.

Whatever happens I can make this unequivocal commitment to my constituents, both leavers and remainers. We had a vote. The country decided. I will not renege on the referendum result no matter who is in government or who is the Prime Minister.

By |2018-07-09T14:36:53+00:00July 9th, 2018|Uncategorised|5 Comments

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  1. Alastair 9th July 2018 at 10:06 pm - Reply

    Thanks for taking the time to lay out your position on this. Best of luck navigating the minefield!

  2. Michael watson 24th July 2018 at 4:00 pm - Reply

    Good luck but when you are up against the dead hand of southampton council you know what to expect.

  3. Tim johns 24th July 2018 at 10:52 pm - Reply

    As the EU have no intention of giving us anything that can be called a resonable deal without making us stick to their rules and being overseen by them I think we should just cut our loses and go WTO. Once out we can then negotiate again as well as with the rest of the world.
    Teresa May is being led by the nose by that quisling civil servant and should stop right now and start fighting for us and not bowing to Brussels

  4. M Knightley 29th July 2018 at 8:59 am - Reply

    Thank you for your work on this.
    My understanding is that we already have a democratic mandate for leaving the EU and regaining absolute sovereignty from an institution with a huge democratic deficit. I’m getting the impression, however, that we are somehow on the back foot and that we are forced to negotiate with an entity that holds all the economic cards. In the current evolution of the global economy the EU is becoming a relatively smaller player so looking to the long term why would we want to be locked into it anyway? Yes, there will be a period of normalisation but future generations, I’m sure, will be grateful for the long term gains I agree with the comment that we just walk and go the WTO route.
    The white paper, as we start to unravel it, appears not in any way to deliver full sovereignty to the UK which, frankly, is not Brexit. One of our concerns should be in the area of our sovereign defence capacity. If in any way this is compromised by some link to PESCO or other ‘lock in’ then we effectively lose control of our foreign policy. The government is accountable for delivery of the referendum. One could almost believe that our negotiators (bar those who have resigned) aren’t that interested in delivering it. The whole thing is descending into farce and because of weak leadership we are not being represented adequately.

  5. Steve Gough 6th September 2018 at 3:55 pm - Reply

    As a determined ‘leaver’ you and some of the enthusiasts on this comments page have to shoulder your share of the responsibility for the bile and aggression that always simmers in the background of Brexit. As you say, even Brexit voters voted that way for a myriad of reasons, some of which are relatively sound, while some are based on little more than barking mad nationalism and which were allowed to remain unchallenged for decades. Remainers like me are definitely responsible for not engaging with the arguments until it was far too late. It is indeed ‘difficult, more likely impossible, to please everyone’ even on your own side of the argument, let alone everyone else.
    Some of the comments here seem to suggest that things are not going well because ‘we’ are not being hard enough or that ‘our’ negotiators aren’t up for it enough – only those with the true fire of the zealot can be trusted to deliver us the deal ‘we’ want. I’m concerned that the toxic nature of this debate will only get worse. If the true believers don’t get their way, or if the Promised Land doesn’t materialise it won’t be because it has inherent flaws and could never work as advertised – instead it will be the fault of ‘traitors’ working with wicked foreigners to undermine the will of the people. This is not exactly fertile ground for constructive discussion – quite the opposite.

    Although I did not vote for you, or for your side in the referendum I do wish you luck in trying to deal with the poisonous mess of Brexit in a way that avoids the complete breakdown of civilised politics and discussion. The signs are not encouraging.

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