Earlier this week, we heard the welcome news that the Prime Minister has secured a new Withdrawal Agreement with the European Union. Having seen the details of this new deal and studied it carefully, I believe that the House of Commons should vote for it today, as I will be. If it passes, this will end the uncertainty, respect the result of the referendum in letter and in spirit, and deliver our departure in a managed and orderly way.
This new deal - which so many said would be impossible for the Prime Minister to secure - provides the basis of a new relationship with the EU, founded on free trade and friendly cooperation, and specifically ensures:
- We will leave the EU’s Customs Union as one United Kingdom and be able to strike trade deals all around the world.
- We will no longer be bound by EU laws and taxes.
- The supremacy of the European Court in Britain will end.
- The backstop has been removed and the people of Northern Ireland will be in control of the laws they live by.
Put simply, this new deal means that Britain is out of all EU laws and we will be able to change our laws in a huge number of areas – from product standards, to fishing rules, to farming subsidies – where we are currently bound by EU rules. We will have an unqualified right to strike our own trade deals around the world, and the whole UK will participate in them and benefit from them. European Court supremacy will end in Britain and it will be our courts, applying our laws, which will be the highest authority in the land. We will be in control of our taxes and able to change VAT rules and other tax laws that are currently determined by Brussels. Northern Ireland will be in the UK customs territory forever and will benefit from the free trade deals we strike. The anti-democratic backstop has been abolished, meaning the people of Northern Ireland will be in charge of the laws that they live by, and – unlike the backstop – will have the right to end the special arrangement if they so choose.
I have long said that we must deliver Brexit on the 31st October, with or without a deal, and for these reasons, I will be supporting the Prime Minister in voting for this new agreement today and I would urge all MPs to do likewise - it is high time that Labour, Liberal Democrat and SNP MPs stopped playing games with this and got on with delivering on the referendum result. What is clear is that passing this agreement, and then the legislation to bring it into law, would end the uncertainty, which people and businesses across the country are calling for, and deliver a Brexit in keeping with what the majority voted for in 2016, and one which the vast majority of people in this country can support. It simply isn’t good enough for some politicians to say they do not want ‘no-deal’, but refuse to support the alternative which avoids that outcome and which delivers on the referendum instruction, whilst preserving the integrity of our democratic process, and ensures a smooth and orderly departure. Failure to support this deal today will lay bare their true intentions, much as they don’t have the courage to just say it: that they simply want to cancel Brexit altogether and ride-roughshod over the democratic instruction Parliament asked the British people to provide.
This has gone on long enough. The time has come to get this done and it is time that Parliament stepped up.