Andrea's speech to the House of Commons regarding the Withdrawal Agreement.
Full text below:
The Prime Minister speaks of a deal which will unite the country - a goal no doubt we all desire - but the division we have seen is a result of the Prime Minister’s own making.
Her desire to get a deal at any cost, prolonging project fear and her decision to postpone last month’s Withdrawal Agreement vote was a mistake and has only led to more division at a time when the country should be uniting behind the democratic decision to leave the EU.
On 23rd June 2016 the question was clear “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?” The British people spoke and decided overwhelmingly to leave.
Mr Speaker, it was never supposed to be this way. At the referendum there was no third option. The choice was either Leave or Remain. It did not mention a half in, half out or a worst of both world’s choice for our country’s future.
The referendum question said nothing about giving the EU £39bn and getting nothing in return.
The referendum question said nothing about a continued role for the European Court of Justice after 2019.
The referendum question said nothing about an Irish backstop and restricting our ability to sign new trade deals.
Mr Speaker this deal is a betrayal to those who voted Leave and it is therefore impossible for this House to unite around this deal and it is impossible for the country to unite behind a bad deal.
At that referendum two years ago the British people spoke and our objective was clear, as elected Members of Parliament we were tasked with delivering Brexit.
In the June 2017 general election, both the Conservatives and Labour stood on a platform of leaving the EU, between us securing 82 percent of all votes.
The democratic mandate for Brexit cannot be questioned.
Let us not forget the Prime Minister’s mantra "No deal is better than a bad deal". We must leave and we need a “clean” Brexit, trading under WTO rules if necessary.
Some Members thought the British people would deliver a different result and vote remain but they didn’t. They decided to take back control and they said we should leave. This was a vote not dictated by fear but by hope. Hope of a different tomorrow and a new path. A path not restricted by the EU and it's institutions but one where we made the decisions and where powers were repatriated. The chance of a global Britain was promised but this has now been broken.
Mr Speaker, I am ashamed of the negativity we have seen surrounding Brexit. Both sides are at fault, but the use of supposedly independent institutions by the Remain side has been truly appalling.
Before the referendum we were told there would recession, mass unemployment and perhaps even war if we voted to leave. These were shown to be incorrect.
Since the referendum we have heard more groundless claims with the intention of persuading the British people that they were incorrect and foolish to want to see an independent and sovereign country. This has been truly shameful.
Recently the ridiculous warnings of the lack of medicine and clean water have been so over the top and numerous that no believes these scare stories anymore. Thankfully the British people can and did see through this charade, however, what has been sowed is mistrust in politics and mistrust in the institutions that are supposed to guide and inform us.
Before the referendum, the Treasury analysis on the immediate economic impact of leaving the EU said: the immediate period of two years following a vote to leave would push the UK into a recession and lead to a sharp rise in unemployment. This was shown to be wrong. The Bank of England warnings about a recession were also shown to be wrong.
No wonder Mr. Speaker that the British people are losing faith in institutions. Institutions which should be independent are continuously being used for short term political gain. These over pessimistic and often incorrect predictions have caused mistrust but we cannot allow the public to lose trust in this place. This Withdrawal Agreement as it stands, a second referendum or a remaining will no doubt cause unmeasurable damage to trust in politics and will damage democracy.
The Prime Minister says there is no better deal to be done but if this is a the best we can get then I propose a better option would be a clean Brexit which delivers on the promises made. The US and China sell billions of pounds of exports each year to the EU using WTO rules. The UK can do the same if necessary.
As the EUs largest trading partner and with a deficit of £95 billion in trade in goods we should have been negotiating from a position of strength, but the Prime Minister’s determination to get a deal at any cost gave the EU the upper hand. The Prime Minister showed her hand too soon and now the EU has called her bluff.
Mr Speaker, in May last year as a PPS I believe I was the first person on the ‘payroll’ to resign for over Brexit.
I had deep concerns with how Brexit was being handled and I felt compelled to resign to fight for the Brexit I believe in.
I may have been the first to set down, but I was not the last.
On both sides of the Brexit debate we have seen talented colleagues resigning due to numerous concerns. Our reasons for standing down may vary, but one thing is all have in common is our belief that this deal is a bad deal for the country.
Be they remain or leave, I respect all the colleagues in this place who bravely stood by their convictions and made the principled decision to fight for what they believe in. But that fight is not yet over.
Mr Speaker, we should have been planning for a No Deal situation before the referendum. And after we should have pursued a Canada style deal. A deal like the Canada option would allow us to get access without giving away our freedoms and brake our promises.
The Brexit deal was never only a choice between the Prime Minister’s deal and reverting to WTO rules, but if that is the choice then I say we chose WTO rules.
This place is often divided by its very nature, but one thing that does unity this place is our belief that the British people are remarkable and can succeed no matter the obstacle.
Our great history shows that we can overcome any hurdle and we will always triumph. This deal is a submission and the British people should never accept a bad deal.
This deal is remain masquerading as leave and it is time entrenched Leave Members of this place started believing in Britain and respecting the result of the referendum.
Instead of fear we need to see forward planning, a vision for the future – a future away from the EU that the whole country can get behind. I am hugely optimistic about our country’s future and there may be difficult times ahead, but we need a leader who can take this great country out into the world and start trading freely around the globe. This deal simply does not allow us to do that.
Promises were made by the Prime Minister but also the huge majority of colleagues in place who supported the EU referendum Bill. 544 MPs voted in favour of the Bill, 17.4 million people voted to leave the EU, 494 MPs voted to trigger Article 50 and 60% of my constituency of Morley and Outwood voted to leave.
What a disappointment it is that such a large majority who supported giving a voice to the British people now chose to ignore their constituent’s wishes. This is incredibly disappointing.
Mr Speaker, this is not a deal to Leave but an agreement to keep us tied to the EU and one I cannot support and will not support.
MPs need to keep their promises and no MP is more visible that the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister’s redlines should have remained in place and she should not have gone back on her promises.
At her Lancaster House speech the Prime Minister said that:
“A Global Britain must be free to strike trade agreements with countries from outside the European Union too.” Moreover,
“the great prize for this country – the opportunity ahead – is to use this moment to build a truly Global Britain… And one of the firmest advocates for free trade anywhere in the world.”
Mr Speaker, this was the vision for Brexit that many of us had, but the Prime Minister’s deal will not allow this to happen. This bold and outward looking vision for our country was one which I believe could have united this place and the country. Unfortunately this deal does not ensure that we can be the truly Global Britain which was envisioned.
However, there is still a solution for the UK which will allow us to strike free trade deals with our old allies and new. There is a solution which will allow us to be a Trudy global trading nation and allow us to advocate for free trade all over the world without restrictions, not to mention will allow us to keep £39bn of tax payer’s money. Under World Trade Organisation Rules we will be control of our own destiny and will not be a vassal state subordinate to the European Union.
Mr Speaker, this is a great country with a rich history and culture, but most importantly full of incredible people. There are no little Englander’s in this place. Those advocating for a Clean Brexit want to see the UK looking out beyond the oceans to new markets and forging new relationships with the exciting economies of tomorrow. Britain can be a free trade powerhouse, yes in Europe but not controlled by Europe. The British way has always been to look beyond our own borders, to seek new opportunities and to engage with new people around the world. Any deal needs to allow us to achieve this vision. Unfortunately this deal does not.