13/03/19

No matter how you voted or what is going on in Westminster, I believe it is helpful to try to explain what I am doing and why at this increasingly complicated time.

I try to remain focused on the promise made to the electorate that we would honour the referendum result. That is why people vote.

Today, I intend to vote to withdraw without a deal. I believe this is the most honest option as delay could lead to cancellation which is what the opposition parties are hoping for.

That is why I lent my support to the Prime Minister yesterday because we still want to leave on 29 March.

However there are large numbers of MPs who will vote this choice down. If that is the case I shall also vote for an amendment to this motion.

This is also known as the Malthouse Compromise Plan B, which has been signed by my colleagues on both sides of the debate:

 

Amendment (f)

At end, add “; notes the steps taken by the Government, the EU and its Member

States to minimise any disruption that may occur should the UK leave the EU without

an agreed Withdrawal Agreement and proposes that the Government should build on

this work as follows:

  1. That the Government should publish the UK’s Day One Tariff Schedules

immediately;

  1. To allow businesses to prepare for the operation of those tariffs, that the

Government should seek an extension of the Article 50 process to 10.59pm on 22 May

2019, at which point the UK would leave the EU;

  1. Thereafter, in a spirit of co-operation and in order to begin discussions on the

Future Relationship, the Government should offer a further set of mutual standstill

agreements with the EU and Member States for an agreed period ending no later

than 30 December 2021, during which period the UK would pay an agreed sum

equivalent to its net EU contributions and satisfy its other public international law

obligations; and

  1. The Government should unilaterally guarantee the rights of EU citizens resident in

the UK.”.

 

This agreement appears to set out a sensible right way forward.

Whilst it will delay our departure this amendment will allow us to leave absolutely.

I regret that we must compromise on a delay date in order to continue to deliver Brexit and also so that we can build a future relationship with the EU which is positive and useful.

I am having to be strategic with my voting, and that is why I am writing to you to let you know what I am doing.

I am sure you understand that the voting strategy to secure Brexit is no longer straightforward.

Voting for the Government’s deal yesterday, and today voting against taking ‘No Deal’ off the table and supporting the Malthouse Agreement, is the compromise that with I have judged to be the most effective voting strategy to get us out of the EU and in a managed, positive way.

Best wishes

Bill