Statement following the European Union (Future Relationship) Bill Vote

I have consistently campaigned hard for the United Kingdom to Remain a full and active member of the European Union and I am glad that I did. Whilst I appreciate where we may now be as a country, I remain firm in my view that through our collective endeavour, we achieve more by working together with our European partners than we do by going it alone.

 I am disappointed with the result but understand that this is the nature of politics and of the democratic process.  I have over the course of this current pandemic however taken much time to pause and reflect on the nature of our civic discourse and each of our civic duty , and I feel it is time to apologise to anyone who felt that I was patronising or dismissive when campaigning so hard to keep us in the European Union This was never my intention.  I will always do what I believe is best for my constituents, so many of whom came to the UK from European countries to work and build a better future for themselves and their family. While it was never a perfect union, I strongly felt that remaining and reforming was - and if I am honest still is - the best option for our country. But I accept that things have since moved on and the debate as to whether we remain or leave is now well and truly over.

It is now time to accept this point so that we may focus our energies as elected representatives on making the very best of the new path upon which our country must now tread in these most uncertain of times. We have officially left the EU and the details of the divorce are painful and  untangling ourselves from over 40 years of membership will take time.  I accept that, despite the years of posturing and delay from the Conservatives, Boris Johnson has finally announced a deal as no deal would be the very worst of all outcomes for the UK. It is concerning however that Parliament wasn’t allowed to see the deal straight away which demonstrates once again the disregard Johnson shows for both Parliament and the country.  

The PM is trying yet again to avoid scrutiny by not giving us enough time to examine the deal in detail which something of this nature so very clearly warrants.  I accept however that this is the deal that the Prime Minister has negotiated and I say therefore to the Prime Minister that this deal is his and his alone and he must fully own it and all its consequences.  I also accept that with Covid-19 and Brexit, many people are at breaking point. Our businesses need clarity and certainty, and No Deal would not achieve that. This deal is far from perfect but it gives the country a new, very basic base and parameters as to how we will begin to operate under this new relationship. So we need to move forward and begin to fully involve parliament in any further negotiations, deals and scrutiny.  For all of the above reasons, I have therefore decided to abstain on the vote in the House of Commons.