I respect and accept the outcome of the June 2016 referendum on our membership of the EU. However, this does not mean that I accept the Prime Minister’s definition of Brexit. Nor does it mean we should just automatically support the Government’s chaotic approach to the negotiations. The referendum was a vote to mandate the Government to enact Article 50 and begin the process for the UK to leave the EU. It wasn’t a mandate for Parliament to support any deal the Government came back with. More importantly it certainly wasn’t a mandate for the UK to walk away from the EU with no deal.
I am aware of calls for there to be a referendum on the terms of any deal or no deal the Government reaches with the EU before we officially leave. While the Opposition is not calling for such a referendum, I agree that there should be proper grip and accountability over the Brexit process and I believe that Parliament should be at the heart of this.
I have long believed that Parliament must be given a say on the final terms of our exit from the EU. That is why I voted for a successful amendment to the EU Withdrawal Act last December requiring that the final deal be approved by Parliament. This amendment was a real step forward. However, I am worried that the Government continues to assert that Parliament will only have a take-it-or-leave-it choice between whatever deal the Prime Minister secures or crashing out of the EU with no deal at all.
After the mistakes and mishaps of the last two years, I believe we should be prepared for the possibility that the Prime Minister may fail to deliver a Brexit deal at all. If that should happen, I strongly believe it is Parliament’s duty to set the direction for the next steps and that it must have all options on the table at that time.
This is a matter of national interest and I can assure you that I will be following developments very closely. As your elected representative in Parliament, I welcome your views and comments throughout this process