On Tuesday Parliament returned following the summer recess for what will undoubtedly be a challenging few weeks as MPs finalise the UK’s terms for leaving the European Union on 29th March 2019.
I have spent a lot of time over the summer talking to local residents and it will come as no surprise that Brexit was a popular topic for discussion. Most of the people I spoke with had not changed their view following the referendum two years ago. Those who voted to leave argued that the complications of leaving shows why Brexit was the right choice, and those who voted to remain pointed out that it was never going to be easy undoing a relationship developed over 40 years and this complexity was never properly explained. Of all the people I spoke with only a handful said that given another opportunity they might change their mind and vote differently to how they did in 2016. In each instance these were older residents who had voted to leave, and whilst they remain convinced it is the right course of action, they said they might take account of the views of their children & grandchildren if asked again.
Some have used this as an argument for re-running the referendum, but I do not agree. As the Prime Minister said just this weekend, “In the summer of 2016, millions came out to have their say. In many cases for the first time in decades, they trusted that their vote would count; that after years of feeling ignored by politics, their voices would be heard. To ask the question all over again would be a gross betrayal of our democracy – and a betrayal of that trust.”
Therefore, I endorse the Government’s proposals set out in the Chequers Agreement which will benefit manufacturing jobs here in Rugby and throughout the wider West Midlands. We will do this by asking the EU to accept a bespoke model that meets the unique requirements of the United Kingdom. Our proposal to maintain a common rulebook with the EU on goods and agricultural products and to operate a Facilitated Customs Arrangement will challenge the EU but it is in our national interest.
When we leave the EU, Parliament will have sovereign control over our future rules and regulations and we will no longer be bound by the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. However, the Government remains committed to maintaining the highest standards after we leave, and many UK businesses will still want to continue trading with the single market. As such, they will have to meet the EU’s standards so creating a free trade zone between the UK and the EU will be good for businesses and good for jobs here in Rugby.