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I want to update you on my Brexit position and reassure you that I remain committed to delivering on the referendum result.
In the 2017 general election 80% of the vote went to parties whose manifestos pledged to deliver Brexit. It is also clear from my correspondence that the vast majority of individuals and businesses across Melksham want the democratic process to be completed and for us to leave the EU. I am committed to ensuring this happens.
The Withdrawal Agreement offers the best method by which we can leave the EU while simultaneously protecting jobs, businesses and our NHS across Wiltshire. The deal is not perfect and there are aspects which we are seeking to change, but the amendment tabled by Sir Graham Brady on 29th January showed that if the backstop problem is solved then we can pass the deal. The Prime Minister has been in Europe seeking changes to and reassurances about the deal, including on the Backstop.
The crucial thing now is to ensure we have the stability and economic confidence to secure local jobs. This deal would achieve this, whilst ending free movement of labour, ending annual fees to the EU, taking back control of our laws, ending the jurisdiction of the ECJ, ensuring no hard border in Northern Ireland and meaning that we would leave the Common Agricultural Policy and be out of the Common Fisheries Policy. Notably for business the EU will remain a free trade area for goods with zero tariffs and we have secured ambitious arrangements for trade in services, alongside new arrangements on financial services and we will keep Visa-free travel for tourists and short-term business visits.
I have voted against all the amendments in parliament that have sought to derail and delay Brexit. However some have passed including the Greive Amendment which means that MPs can table amendments – allowing Parliament to rule out a no deal.
The Finance Bill amendment limits the Treasury’s ability to make no-deal preparations unless authorised by Parliament. The Spelman Amendment confirms that the majority of the House is against no deal. Even many of those actively in favour of a no deal scenario are not in favour of an unplanned no deal scenario.
Plus the attempted Cooper/ Boles amendment is expected to be tabled again; this is a mechanism to take over control of the parliamentary process to delay Article 50. So one way or another the government could likely be forced to extend Article 50, this would be a horrific betrayal of democracy and the referendum. That is why I will continue to oppose these amendments at every stage and why I am working so hard for us to get a deal and to leave on March 29th.