Royston Smith MP statement on draft EU Withdrawal Agreement

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Royston Smith MP statement on draft EU Withdrawal Agreement

The EU Withdrawal Agreement announced by the Prime Minister yesterday will go before Parliament in the coming weeks. Having read and analysed the document, I have concluded that I cannot in all good conscience support the proposed agreement in its current form.

Whilst significant progress has been made on many of the key issues, I am unable to accept a temporary customs arrangement (union in all but name) that we cannot unilaterally withdraw from. To agree to this will be worse than staying in the EU, where we had the assurance of a unilateral withdrawal process. Handing over more sovereignty is precisely the opposite of what this country voted for on 23rd June 2016.

Since Chequers was announced I have expressed my concern about the direction of the negotiations, and now having seen the final proposals I have concluded that they do not honour the outcome of the referendum on our membership of the European Union. When, or if, these proposals are put to a vote in the House of Commons I will vote against them.

The vote to leave the EU was not merely about sovereignty or indeed immigration in my opinion, but often a feeling of being ignored and dismissed by those in positions who feel they always know best. Politicians used to believe in something, now it appears many of them believe in nothing. I will not be one of those politicians who compromise principles, integrity and our country’s independence for the opportunity of my own advancement.

By |2018-11-15T13:05:29+00:00November 15th, 2018|Uncategorised|19 Comments

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  1. Antony Holmes 15th November 2018 at 2:21 pm - Reply

    Hello Mr Smith,

    It is clear that some sort of transition is required to the eventual exit and the PM’s plan is not all bad, but apparently many MPs do not trust the backstop and the ability to transition past it.

    The backstop should be unpalatable to both parties to disincentive its utilization or if used, ensure that both parties wish to exit asap, however it must not cause harm to NI. My suggestion is that the backstop should allow continued tariff free access to EU markets but suspend UK contributions to the EU budget.
    In this case UK is a rule taker and loses an element of sovereignty but accesses the single market “for free”, a situation that neither party relishes.

    Yours Sincerely

    Antony Holmes

    • Peter Day 6th December 2018 at 9:10 pm - Reply

      Anthony, it’s not just the ‘backstop’ that is unpalatable, but also the fact that the UK will be tied to EU rules, without any say in the matter. This would effectively mean that none or few trade deals will be possible with other countries because they will also need to comply with those EU rules. What is required in order to deliver real Brexit is a genuine Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the EU such as that of Canada, but with the addition of Services and Security, unlike the Prime Minister’s ‘Deal’ which is Brexit in name only. For these and no doubt other reasons, Royston is right not to support the Prime Minister’s ‘Deal’, which is frankly the worst of all worlds. Teresa May said that No Deal is better than a Bad Deal, so she should do what she said and walk away from this ‘Deal’ and adopt the Canada ++ FTA, and be prepared to trade under WTO rules until such time as the EU accepts this. The lack of the £39B ‘divorce payment’ and a huge trade deficit would mean that the EU won’t take long to give the UK a FTA, whereas with the Prime Minister’s ‘Deal’ there is no incentive for the EU as they have everything they need; our money and the UK as a ‘Vassal’ state (no longer a sovereign country, as now).

  2. Rebecca 16th November 2018 at 1:20 pm - Reply

    Thank you Royston for the update on your stance. Can you comment on your position on vote of no confidence in Theresa May?

  3. K Beney 18th November 2018 at 6:39 pm - Reply

    Hi, Are you supporting Theresa May in her suborn refusal to give way on any important issues.? I hope not!
    K Beney

  4. Ian Lang 19th November 2018 at 1:10 pm - Reply

    The unwavering tone and faux certainty of your statement, is I fear part of the problem the government is facing. I do not believe that the extreme right wing of the Conservative Party, has the right to define what we voted for. Indeed far from needing another referendum, the last 30 months are an example of what we should avoid at all costs. Leaders who take no responsibility for their destructive actions, on the basis of a poorly defined referendum two years ago are disingenuous. I would have thought some humility was in order.

    • Peter Day 6th December 2018 at 2:46 pm - Reply

      Ian, I am glad that Royston is taking this principled approach to Teresa May’s ‘deal’, which in reality is not Brexit at all but just in name only. The referendum was clearly stated in the booklet sent out to all households by the Government, which was rejected by the majority of the British people. The Prime Minister’s ‘deal’ is worse than staying in the EU, neither of which respects the result of the referendum. I presume you voted Remain, in which case you lost and should just accept it. Hopefully Teresa May will lose the vote next week and will be forced to resign so that a Brexiteer PM can take her place and negotiate a genuine FTA with the EU, along the lines of Canada plus Services and Security, which was offered in the beginning by Barnier, but rejected by Teresa May as clearly she wants to remain in the EU.

  5. M V Mackinnon 19th November 2018 at 8:43 pm - Reply

    I am happy to hear that you don’t agree with Mrs May and I’m hoping you will reject her proposal as it’s not what we voted for, Regards Valerie

  6. M Knightley 20th November 2018 at 6:15 pm - Reply

    As one who voted to exit the EU I am also concerned about the direction of travel on our terms of withdrawal and the distinct lack of clarity offered to the electorate. There appears to an abundance of ‘smoke and mirrors’ around many of the key issues which will have had a bearing on the vote.
    I also have a major concern that the current EU apparent intention to form an EU military union (interestingly foreign media are covering it but it’s very quiet here which does seem rather suspicious). In the light of this I think we need a categorical assurance from government that our full range of UK defence capabilities, post Brexit, remain under UK sovereignty with UK central command and control. I have a feeling that innocuous sounding language (partnership?) will be used to obfuscate the truth of our actual position on this issue.

  7. Maria Connor 25th November 2018 at 1:03 pm - Reply

    If this deal is the best we can be graciously be given by the EU then let’s just say no now with no deal and just leave on 29 March. What exactly are they giving us? It seems we are the ones making all the concessions. We should use this time to start negotiating sooner rather than later new trade deals with the rest of the world which would be better deals than we have at the moment within the eu. I am sure some of the countries within the eu would be coming back to us with better deals when they see us getting cheaper wines from South America or cheaper beef from the USA to name a few.
    We have an ideal opportunity for our businesses to grow and prosper with our own guidelines and rules to negotiate deals instead of being dictated to by unelected bureaucrats hundreds of miles away.
    When we voted to leave we voted to bring back control of our borders, control of our courts, negotiate our own trade deals so be in control of our own destiny.
    The deal on offer is not what I voted for so should be voted against when put to parliament.

  8. John Davis 27th November 2018 at 12:05 pm - Reply

    Maria is right; the UK voted to bring back control of our borders, control of our courts and to be free to negotiate our own trade deals.

    If we were to enter the proposed transition period our only escape routes from “the backstop” (a.k.a becoming effectively a colony of the EU) would be (a) to kick the can down the road and pay them more (extending the transition period) or (b) achieving agreement in favour of EU members by giving away our fishing rights etc.

    And even then, though May and Lidington etc. repeat that the EU say they don’t want to keep us in the backstop, I fear that what they say and what they’d do are two very different things. They’d hold the keys, and it wouldn’t be in their interest to release us. It would show other member states that you could leave and make a success of it.

    Some things are clear to me. This Prime Minister hasn’t keep her promises, is a poor negotiator and communicator and misleads the public by repeatedly asserting that this agreement satisfies the result of the referendum.

    We need a new inspirational leader who talks plainly to the electorate at the earliest possible moment. If we were to go into a fresh general election (which could be called quickly after Dec. 11th) and she was still leader it would be disastrous for the Conservative Party and for the country.

  9. Paul Georgiou 27th November 2018 at 3:56 pm - Reply

    The Withdrawal Agreement is unacceptable in almost every respect (in that its primary purpose is to ensure that the UK pays the maximum amount of money to the EU and that there there should very little reciprocity in the responsibility of the two parties) but you are right that the key point is that there would be no escape from this appallingly bad deal without the permission of the EU. I am deeply disappointed that a Conservative Government should negotiate such an agreement and then recommend it to the UK population.

    The EU set out to ensure, if it was in its power, that the UK would be much worse off outside the EU than if it remained within. If we accept the proposed Withdrawal Agreement, they will have succeeded.

    PS: There seems to be something wrong with your insert Website box. It has rejected my url (

  10. Phil Hand 29th November 2018 at 10:47 am - Reply

    I like many voted to leave the EU and haven’t changed my mind. However at the time of the referendum I thought the arguments were finely balanced, and acknowledge the 48% who voted to remain in the EU. I think the Prime Minister has worked damned hard to come up with an agreement with the EU that gets us out but still respects this balance. I know it is fashionable to pour scorn on her efforts, but I can’t really see why the deal we have been offered is such a bad place to start life outside the EU, and, Mr Smith, I want you to support it.

    • Peter Day 6th December 2018 at 9:27 pm - Reply

      Phil, Teresa May has worked very hard to keep the UK in the EU and in this she has succeeded, but has failed to achieve a true Brexit, whereby the UK regains its sovereignty and control of its borders, finances, laws and trade. She should have stuck to her Lancaster House plan, but instead listened to Ollie Robbins (Civil Servant) rather than her Ministers, which is why so many have resigned. She needs to step aside and let a Brexiteer Prime Minister deliver Brexit, as she has failed abysmally as a Remainer.

  11. Royston Dear 6th December 2018 at 8:56 am - Reply

    Alright Royst, well i have to say anyone would have had a real problem dealing with the E.U. ,as far as i am concerned Mrs May have done her best but there should have always been a person who wanted to leave the E.U. dealing with the issue and not a person who wanted to stay in, on top of that the other party”s Labour etc should have stood shoulder to shoulder and backed the democratic vote of the people to leave the E.U. , but instead they played the system for political gains and in doing so weakened our hand in dealing with that unelected non democratic federal system called the E.U. it is obvious the E.U. dose not take kindly to democracy ,i believe there intention ,was and is,and always has been, is force us into another referendum as they have done with other country”s ,i find this completely beyond the pail , i dont believe we can trust them at all, to me they have shown themselves to be intolerant and unwilling to bend to the will of the people , and so because of this we should walk away and not give them a penny , i would rather we could work with them but they always ,always want to be control regardless ,we can not be part of a system who dictates over our rights to chose , shame really i like Europe , but not the system. so im glad your not going to support the deal, we can not be having them ,having the last say on our right to freedom of choice .

  12. Bernard Calland 6th December 2018 at 9:07 am - Reply

    I am glad to see that you intend to vote against this appalling deal which is worse than staying in the EU. Please ensure you do not stab us all in the back by changing your mind.

  13. Peter Day 6th December 2018 at 9:37 pm - Reply

    Royston, I hope that when the Prime Minister loses the vote on 11th December, you will join the other principled Conservative MPs in expressing a vote of no confidence in her so that she can be replaced by a true Brexiteer PM.

  14. Nadia Egan 7th December 2018 at 10:26 pm - Reply

    I am so worried about the outcome of all this, if we don’t leave,I don’t think I would want to vote ever again or trust another politician.

  15. Dianagb 12th December 2018 at 10:17 pm - Reply

    As a Conservative and representing your constituency, are you now going to be behind Theresa May and support her?

  16. Maria Boys 8th January 2019 at 7:59 pm - Reply

    Dear Royston, I notice that you are only showing pro-Brexit comments. I wrote to you about supporting a People Vote but my comment is not here. I am so glad that Yvette Cooper won the Finance Vote tonight – at last a little sanity prevails.

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