The Withdrawal Agreement, soon to be put before Parliament, is not what was promised. It is not what was promised in the Referendum in 2016 and it is not what was promised at the General Election in 2017. It is costing us £39 billion, it ties us in indefinitely, unable to leave unless the EU consents. Already some member states have indicated they will use this need for consent to secure an advantage over the UK in future negotiations.
Never mind that, this is a good deal we are told, so let’s get on with it. But it isn’t a good deal and people can see that. It may well be the best deal that the Prime Minister can achieve. It is certainly true that the Prime Minister has tried her hardest to find a comprise acceptable to the EU and the UK. And it is right that everyone has had enough of Brexit.
But that does not mean that MPs can simply support this agreement. Whilst the Prime Minister has to reconcile a divided country, a divided Party, the interests of Northern Ireland and Gibraltar, my job is simpler: I have a duty to stand up for my constituents and to be their voice. I asked the them in 2015 and 2017 to put their trust in me to do just that and that is what I will do.
People do not trust politicians because too often politicians are not straight with them. By claiming this deal is a ‘good deal’ that honours the Referendum we do not deceive anyone, we simply erode their trust.
I respect the Prime Minister. She has done her best in the most difficult of circumstances. But I cannot support the Withdrawal Agreement. My loyalty is to those I have been elected to represent. All too often their voices are ignored. It is my job to stand up for them and this is something I am proud to do. The Referendum was an opportunity for my constituents to be heard. I will not allow that opportunity to be taken from them. I stood for election on a mandate to deliver a Brexit where the UK would leave the Single Market, the Customs Union and European Court of Justice. The Withdrawal Agreement simply does not deliver. People voted in good faith. They trusted in the democratic process. I cannot betray that trust.