Back in January 2018, I was asked to serve in the Government as a Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. Parliamentary Private Secretaries are often referred to as a minister's “eyes and ears” in Parliament and they aid and support the minister in his or her duties, they are not paid for their work.
This is an excellent department working on some hugely important areas of policy for our country including housing supply and delivery, home ownership, the Northern Powerhouse and Local growth. It has been a huge honour to support the excellent ministers in this department, however, I have decided to stand down from this position so I can concentrate more of my time on obtaining the right Brexit for our country and my constituents.
Currently, I sit on the committee for Exiting the European Union where we examine and scrutinise witnesses, experts and ministers who have a massive influence on our country’s future. Securing Brexit and safeguarding the right kind of departure is important to me personally and I know is a very important issue for my constituents. As we get closer to us leaving the EU, my committee business will be more important than ever and I believe it best I do all I can to fight to secure the right direction for our country’s future.
Currently, there are 21 members on the Brexit committee, only 7 of which voted to leave the EU. It is my opinion that the reports produced by the committee have been unbalanced in favour of us either remaining in the EU, the customs union or delaying our departure. I, therefore, feel I need to spend more of my time doing all I can do to correct this imbalance and be a robust voice for the benefits of Brexit.
During my time on the committee, it has become clear that some of my colleagues are committed to upsetting the democratic decision of the British people. Over the past few months, this situation has caused me much frustration, but since this disparity is unlikely to change I feel it is my duty to give the necessary attention to this vitally important role.
This disproportion might not seem so unusual when you consider that I and my Brexit colleagues are overwhelmingly outnumbered in the House of Commons, however, the European Union Referendum Act 2015 was passed by 544-53 votes on its second reading on 9 June 2015, a ratio of six to one in the Commons. We as MPs decided to give the people a say on our relationship with the EU, we trusted them with a referendum, so we must deliver on this promise. It is our duty as representatives of the people and our responsibility as legislators to bring about Brexit and not upset the process.
Brexit means a huge amount to me personally. I ran my 2015 general election campaign promising to vote for a referendum on our relationship with the EU. In the 2017 general election, I was the only local candidate who voted and supported Brexit and my constituents decided to return me as their local MP. I owe my constituents and the 17.4 million people who decided to leave the EU that their voices are heard in committee and in parliament.
The Prime Minister has my full support in delivering the Brexit that she promised the British people. I am glad that the Prime Minister shares my vision of a truly Global Britain which is able to strike trade agreements with other countries. We want to see a new relationship with Europe, with a new model not enjoyed by other countries - nothing that leaves us half-in, half-out. And in order to achieve this, we need to leave the customs union
As a PPS, it was unfortunate that my work at the department had to come first, the MHCLG is an incredibly busy department and I could not give my full attention to everything. Standing down as a PPS was a difficult decision for me, but I have decided that this is something that I need to do to be able to fully commit to my other parliamentary duties. I have an obligation to my constituents and the 17.4 million people around the country that decided to leave and take back control of our destiny.
I made a promise to my constituents during this parliament to fight for Brexit and this is a promise that I intend to keep to the best of my abilities. And it is important that I have both the time and freedom to speak out on the backbenchers to be able to do so.