Following a vote on Monday and discussions earlier in the day, Parliament last night made a series of indicative votes on how the UK should proceed with Brexit.
Due to the volume of correspondence I have received I have tried to cover all of the votes in one place, so that I could explain my position as soon as possible. If there is something more specific that you would like to know more about then please get in touch.
Following months of the Prime Minister offering a binary choice between her bad deal and the catastrophic option of No Deal, both of which have been rejected by Parliament, it has taken extraordinary measures for Parliament to have a real choice and an opportunity to proceed in a positive manner.
Each MP was given a slip with 8 different options on it – chosen by the Speaker of the House, John Bercow, from 16 submissions. These varied from revoking Article 50 to accepting and managing a No Deal Brexit. They did not include the Prime Minister’s deal which has already been overwhelmingly rejected twice, but unfortunately, it seems we haven’t seen the last of that yet. More on that below.
Taking each option in turn, this is how I voted and why:
Option B: Leave the EU without a deal on April 12 – Voted AGAINST
A No Deal Brexit would be terrible for our economy – which is why business is so strongly against it – and for our security. In the 2016 Referendum campaign the official Leave campaign said we would not leave without a deal. When I stood in the 2017 election I said I would not support a No Deal situation. I have voted against it in the past and will continue to do so.
Option D: Common Market 2.0/Norway Plus – Voted FOR
This would mean that we leave the EU but had a close economic partnership through a customs union. This would be good for the economy and solves the Irish Border issue.
Option H: Norway Option but no Customs Union – ABSTAINED
This is the same as Option D without the Customs Union. Whilst I have some sympathy with this argument I think it is superseded by D.
Option J: Leave the EU with a Customs Union – Voted FOR
Similarly to above, this would ensure a close economic partnership after withdrawal from the EU.
Option K: Labour’s Brexit Plan – Voted FOR
This was to form a customs union and a close economic partnership. It would mean also that workers’ rights and environmental protections would keep pace with improvements in the EU.
Option L: Revoke Article 50 in the event of no deal – ABSTAINED
Whilst I strongly believe that No Deal is the worst possible outcome I don’t think unilaterally revoking Article 50 would properly respect the Referendum result.
Option M: Any withdrawal agreement must be put to a second referendum – Voted FOR
I have significant reservations about putting the final deal to another vote. Nevertheless, we are currently stuck in gridlock. If this is not resolved, then the public will need to resolve it. I therefore think it is important to keep this option on the table.
Option O: Malthouse Plan B – Voted AGAINST
This is effectively a ‘managed’ No Deal. I do not think No Deal could be ‘managed’ and that this option would cause significant harm.
The Prime Minister’s deal
At the time of writing it is expected that the Prime Minister will bring back her deal for a third time. This has been rejected twice by two of the biggest margins in UK political history. This is because it is not a good deal. It is a ‘blind’ deal. It withdraws us from the EU but does not tell us what arrangements there will be in the future. It creates havoc at the Irish Border, also. It seems now that that some of the deal’s biggest critics will now support it, because the Prime Minister has promised to resign if it passes. Whilst I believe it is time for the PM to go, that does not make the deal any better. I believe this shows that to many in the Conservative Party, this is all about their own internal power struggles and not the good of our country.
To conclude, I believe that people believe that this process has dragged on for long enough and want resolution. Similarly, I think people are tired of political division and want to see their decision-makers come together to find consensus and resolution. This involves compromise and that is what I have done. I have supported proposals put by members of other parties when I think they are the best for our country.