This week the Prime Minister travelled to Salzburg to meet with the heads of Government from the European Union to up the pace of the Brexit negations and discuss the UK-EU relationship post-Brexit. Earlier today the Prime Minister gave an updated statement on Brexit from Downing Street and, as your constituency MP, I wanted to write to keep you informed of the latest developments.
I will say from the outset, these are negotiations, and we always knew they would be tough at times. The Prime Minister is standing up for the UK’s interests by proposing a deal which delivers on the referendum result but, crucially, does not break up our United Kingdom.
I want to assure you that we can still be confident of reaching a deal but we must be under no illusion that no deal is better than a bad deal.
The Prime Minister used the Salzburg summit to discuss shared European challenges such as migration and collective security as well as the ongoing Brexit negotiations.
In her Downing Street address, Theresa May stated that, although great progress has been made negotiating our exit from the EU, there are still two big issues that need to be overcome. The first is the nature of our economic arrangements with the EU post-Brexit. The second issue, which is connected to the first, is the need to include a backstop to ensure that there won’t be a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.
You can find the full transcript of the Prime Ministers updated Brexit Statement at the below web address.
The Prime Minister has been clear that the integrity of the United Kingdom is of paramount importance and that no Prime Minister could accept a deal which split apart our country. Indeed Parliament has already unanimously rejected an arrangement which would have meant Northern Ireland being permanently separated economically from the UK by a border down the Irish Sea.
The Prime Minister has reaffirmed that we must continue to prepare for no deal whilst clarifying two vital issues which will be important to many of my constituents.
Firstly, in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, EU citizens’ rights in the U.K. will be respected. The Prime Minister herself stated: “in the event of no deal your rights will be protected. You are our friends, our neighbours, our colleagues. We want you to stay.”
The second is that in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, the Government will do everything within its power to prevent a return to a hard border in Northern Ireland.
As the Prime Minister stated in her speech, the UK has been negotiating in good faith and has treated the EU with respect. It is fair that the UK expects the same.
The Government remains committed to getting the best possible deal from the EU and negotiations are continuing. We are leaving the European Union on 29th March 2019; there will be no overturning the result of the referendum.
I will continue my support in Parliament for the best possible result for Britain and Norwich.