Another big week in British politics is behind us, with the Withdrawal Agreement being voted down in Parliament with a thumping majority.
This deal was remain masquerading as leave and it was incredibly disappointing that I, alongside 118 of my Conservative colleagues, felt unable to vote with the Government who had promised to deliver on the referendum result. This deal represented a bad deal and I could not in good faith sign up the country I love to it.
It would have prevented the UK from seizing the opportunities that Brexit can provide, and locked us into a ‘backstop’ that would see the UK in a legal ‘ditch’. This would’ve been a disadvantageous position from which we would be totally unable to negotiate, as the only way to leave it would be for the EU to agree to our release. I have no doubt that this would come at a significant cost with totally unacceptable demands.
Now that this has been defeated I hope that Parliament unites in a shared respect for the British people, who voted leave by a majority of 1.3 million people. In total, 17.4 million people, including 60% of our local area, voted to leave and that is what we must do.
Instead of fearmongering we need to see forward planning, a vision for the future that enriches our country. A future away from the undemocratic and burdensome EU institutions that the whole country can get behind and share in the opportunities this provides.
We have seen locally that the Brexit fear stories are total rubbish. Associated Waste Management, based here in Morley, has recently been acquired by a leading Irish waste disposal company and helps to bring home the reality that post-Brexit Britain will still be open for business. I was happy to praise this investment into our country and our fantastic local area in Parliament recently, perhaps waste management companies could help combat the fear stories we see all too regularly?
I am hugely optimistic about our country’s future and there may be difficult times ahead, particularly if Parliament tries to frustrate the will of the people by not delivering on the referendum result. Our long and fantastic history proves that we as a nation can overcome any hurdle in our path, and we will always triumph.
I will continue to fight for a clean Brexit that means the UK is free to look out across the seas to new markets and forging new relationships with the exciting growing economies of tomorrow.
Britain can be a free trade powerhouse, in Europe but not controlled by Europe. We can, as we always have done before, look beyond our own borders to seek new opportunities and to engage with people across the rapidly evolving world. We must not be held back by a focus on Europe, but rather free to move with the times and capitalise on new emerging markets.
We must deliver on the will of the British people, leave the EU in full on the 29th of March, reap the rewards and share in the opportunities that Brexit can bring.