Europe Statement from Michael

The referendum on membership of the EU in June 2016 was the largest ever exercise in British democracy and the people expressed a clear preference to leave the EU: over 17.4 million people in this country voted to leave the European Union. The leave side received 1,269,501 more votes than the remain side and in the Borough of Northampton 58.4% voted to Leave. I respect that result and I feel I have a duty to help achieve an orderly exit from the EU.

I realise that there are some who are disappointed with the decision, but we are intending to follow the democratic instructions of the British people. If I were prepared to disregard the results of the Referendum, it would have been wrong of me to have voted to have a Referendum in the first place, which of course the vast majority of all MPs did from across the political divide.

I also do not support the running of a second referendum as this would seriously undermine our democracy. The people made their decision and now is the time to deliver on the instruction of the British people.

Leaving the EU means leaving the Single Market and Customs Union, ending freedom of movement, ending the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the EU on our laws, and an end to sending vast sums of money to Brussels every year. The Prime Minister’s deal achieves all of this and I support it.

This Government has agreed a Withdrawal Agreement which sets out the terms of the UK’s smooth and orderly exit from the EU and a Political Declaration which outlines our future relationship with the EU. This deal also protects the rights of EU citizens living in this country and the rights of UK citizens in other EU countries- as well as settling our financial obligations.

As part of the Prime Minister’s vision for Brexit, the UK will also leave both the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and become an independent coastal state in which our fishing community will gain a fairer share of the fish in our waters. Both sides have also committed to creating a ‘free trade area for goods’ between the UK and the EU which will include zero tariffs and no quotas. This would mean the UK having an unprecedented economic relationship that no other major economy has – which is especially significant considering that we will no longer have to abide by freedom of movement. Therefore, the Deal the PM has negotiated achieves free trade on goods – allowing our businesses to continue to trade with our EU allies – whilst putting an end to freedom of movement, allowing us to take back control of our borders and create a skills-based immigration system. Moreover, the Prime Minister’s deal allows us to create an independent trade policy giving us the freedom to negotiate new trade deals with old friends and new allies.

The Agreement and Political Declaration has been agreed by the Cabinet and all other EU leaders.

There are no credible alternatives that delivers the Brexit vote in full - as the above graphic shows.

In my view it is now time to get on with implementing the democratic will of the people, stop creating divisions and back the Prime Minister’s deal for Brexit. The British people do not want further delay, which rejecting this deal would cause.

[11/01/19]