The Chequers Agreement

When more than 17 million people voted to leave the European Union, they did not all share the same expectation about where we would end up when we left. Some probably wanted us to follow the example of Canada – a wholly independent country which has just reached a free trade agreement with the EU.  Others may have envied the deal that Switzerland has, accepting EU rules on industrial goods in exchange for access to the Single Market for goods but with the freedom to set its own rules for banks, insurance companies and other service industries. These are complex questions and it is the job of ministers to work out what arrangement would be in the national interest, and of Parliament to scrutinise their decisions.
Since the referendum, I have consistently voted to give effect to the referendum decision to leave the EU. I voted for the Article 50 Act which means that we will leave the legal structures of the EU at the end of March next year. I voted for the Withdrawal Act, which will ensure that our laws continue to function after we stop being a member of the EU. As a Member of Parliament I believe it is my duty to argue for a Brexit deal which strikes a balance between the desire for complete independence and the need to preserve jobs and the businesses that create them. After 40 years inside the EU many manufacturing businesses have adapted their processes to take advantage of the single market: they import parts from hundreds of different suppliers in the EU and sell their finished products to equal numbers of customers in the EU. It would be reckless and irresponsible to put the fortunes of those businesses at risk, and threaten the jobs of the thousands of people who work for them, in pursuit of some theoretical dream of pure independence. I don’t believe that any of my constituents who voted to leave intended to deprive their fellow citizens of their jobs and livelihoods just so British manufacturers can adopt new standards for British cars or vacuum cleaners.
We will not get everything we want from a deal with the European Union. Negotiations always involve compromise and trade-offs. But I believe that the Prime Minister is on the right track and will secure a deal which honours the referendum and preserves our prosperity. That’s why I continue to back her.