It was no surprise to me that the Prime Minister decided to postpone the vote on her Withdrawal Agreement. With 100 of her own MPs, plus the DUP, planning to vote against it, a loss on such a scale would have surely meant the end of her premiership. Now she may live to fight another day, but she is only delaying the inevitable while doing further damage to her reputation. Her days in Downing Street are numbered and it is time the country got behind a new leader, one who believes in Brexit.
The deal agreed with the EU – Remain masquerading as Leave – is entirely the Prime Minister’s doing and it is obvious she is the wrong person to go back to Europe to attempt to win concessions. For two years, Theresa May has led these botched negotiations and excluded her Brexit secretaries from the process, resulting in the bad deal she still insists is a good one. We now need to take a different approach.
It is not uncommon for EU negotiations to run to the wire. People point to the Greek debt crisis, where the bailout was concluded at the eleventh hour. However, this government needs to remember that the UK is not Greece. We are the EU’s single largest trading partner, the fifth largest economy in the world, with a huge goods trade deficit with the EU. We should have been negotiating from a position of strength, but Mrs May’s determination to get a deal at any cost gave the EU the upper hand. I am convinced that only a new Prime Minister will be able to negotiate better terms and keep the promises made to the British people at the referendum.
In July this year, I put my letter of no confidence into the 1922 Committee after the Prime Minister’s Chequers plan showed that we were giving too much away and not getting enough in return. Brexiteers like me could see that nothing was going to change and that the Prime Minister was taking the country down the wrong path. She has therefore known for five months that her deal would not be palatable, but she has persisted and wasted more time on this flawed strategy.
We have been joined in our opposition to her Brexit vision by Remainers, including Greg Hands and Sam Gyimah. The Prime Minister can’t win over Brexiteers and she can’t win over Remainers. Why? Because the deal she wants is a bad deal and will remain a bad deal. Thankfully my colleagues are starting to see what a few of us were saying months ago.
This weekend I went canvassing around my constituency and I listened to the concerns of residents. Overwhelmingly they said they wanted to get on with Brexit but they remain unconvinced with the Prime Minister’s agreement because it fails to deliver on what they were promised at the referendum. I can’t support a deal that fails 60 per cent of my constituents and the 17.4 million who voted for Brexit. I genuinely believe that our best days lie ahead of us, outside of the EU, but we need to be free from their interference and able to trade freely with the rest of the world. I cannot see how any changes secured by Mrs May now will make sure that happens.
What is the point of Mrs May remaining in power if she is incapable of delivering on the result of the referendum? We need to end this charade. For the good of the country and the party, it is time for her to do the honourable thing and resign.