14 MAR 2019

Brexit votes

UPDATED (below): As I set out in my public meeting last week, events, debates and voting on Motions in Westminster would be very fluid regarding how we would leave the EU.

Yesterday, I voted with the intention of keeping all options open to the government to try and secure a deal that would help us leave the EU. The government's motion was never actually voted on, as we voted on amendments first. That included me voting to keep no deal on the table and to keep the so called Malthouse compromise in play as a way to help negotiations.

The Commons voted by a majority of just 4 to amend the government's motion so that the UK should only leave with an agreed withdrawal agreement and future political declaration.

My concern is that Parliament has now voted in effect to give the control on how we leave the EU to the other 27 EU countries, unless we vote to endorse the already negotiated withdrawal agreement and future political declaration.

The government can present a statutory instrument to change exit date and today's motion suggests that would be 30th June. However, we need the other 27 EU countries to agree that new date, else we leave by default on 29th March. I think it likely that the EU27 would agree a short technical extension to allow formal ratification of the agreement and legislation to ratify the treaty, but only if Parliament agrees to what has been negotiated.

If Parliament cannot accept what has been negotiated already and given it has now resolved that we should leave with a deal, that gives the potential to the EU27 for all sorts of changes and the length of time that we could still be in the EU. It has been suggested that could be staying in as a full member till the end of 2021.

This week has been extraordinary and somewhat tense. The majority of people I meet in Suffolk Coastal are fed up with all of this and just want Parliament "to get on with it". I agree. I'm a democrat and I think we have to respect the 2016 referendum result. I continue to hope Parliament will do that.

UPDATE : I voted for the PM's motion to agree that if Parliament votes for the Withdrawn Agreement and Future Declaration that the PM could ask for a three month extension so we can do the necessary legislation in Parliament, as I think we will need more than a week to do it. I also voted against a second referendum. 

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