There are more votes this week in Parliament to find a way forward to deliver Brexit.
On Monday, the Prime Minister gave a statement in Parliament to give MPs the latest updates with the Brexit process including what was achieved at the EU Council last week. You can find that here: LINK
MPs then voted to give themselves control of what they think the solution should be. On Wednesday, a series of votes is taking place on so-called “indicative options” - different types of Brexit or indeed various ways of not leaving at all - so that MPs can try to indicate a consensus. I did not vote for the notion of having this process.
My simple view is that the decision has already been taken and should be respected: we are leaving the EU. I believe we should now do this as swiftly as possible to honour that democratic result, in an orderly way, and ideally with a deal that promotes jobs and opportunities for my constituents.
I know from speaking to many of my constituents who hold various different views from across this debate, who voted both leave and remain, that what is needed now is certainty.
The Prime Minister is continuing to have discussions with MPs across Parliament to build support for the Brexit deal which has already been negotiated. I expect it may come back to Parliament for further votes in the coming days. If it does, I intend to maintain my vote in favour of this deal because I believe it is a reasonable one (see my previous blog posts on this).
In her statement the Prime Minister confirmed; “The bottom line remains, if the House does not approve the Withdrawal Agreement this week and is not prepared to countenance leaving without a deal we will have to seek a longer extension. This would entail the UK having to hold European Elections. And it would mean that we will not have been able to guarantee Brexit”.
“These are now choices the House will have the opportunity to express its view on”.
It is true that it’s legally necessary for Parliament to ratify a deal, and so it is necessary to find a way forward which can command the support of the majority of the House of Commons.
This said, the Prime Minister rightly points out that “No Government could give a blank cheque to commit to an outcome without knowing what it is. So, I cannot commit the Government to delivering the outcome of any votes held by this House, but I do commit to engaging constructively in this process”. And it’s obvious that any outcome must also be realistic - it must be negotiable with the European Union. Relationships between nations take two - or 28! - to tango.
Finally, this week there is also a vote to ensure that domestic legislation is consistent with our new international agreement of a slightly later exit day. This will be 22nd May if the available deal is ratified, or 12th April if not. This Friday (29th March) is no longer exit day.
I would urge my colleagues to get behind the Government’s deal which does deliver on the referendum result. I will continue my work in Parliament to support a pragmatic deal, because that’s what is in the best interests of my constituents in Norwich North.
I’ll continue to blog here to keep you informed, and of course read everything that any constituent wishes to send me about Brexit. There are a lot of other very important national and local issues to be able to move on to work on too.