Brexit update – March 2019
Following the votes that have taken place this week around the departure of the UK from the European Union, I wish to provide an update.
Before I begin, I would like to thank the thousands of constituents: that I have spoken with; or who have telephoned; as well as those who have written to my office to express their views and concerns throughout this process. Additionally, I am appreciative of the businesses, of all sizes within our community, that have taken the time to communicate with me around our departure from the EU and put forward their particular opinion.
As I have said previously, I campaigned and was elected on a manifesto that promised to honour the result of the 2016 referendum. I take this commitment very seriously. I believe that to go against this pledge would be a disservice to those I represent and, more widely, I feel that should the UK Government abandon this process and call for a subsequent referendum, it would set a dangerous precedent for the future of our democracy.
I have supported the Prime Minister’s deal on both occasions it was presented to Parliament. There were initially elements of the proposal that I wished for greater assurances on, however, having received these from the Prime Minister, I remain convinced that this is the best deal available and one that will guarantee the UK has a smooth transition from the EU.
Having spoken to many businesses and constituents in Angus, the overwhelming feedback I have received is that the deal provides the assurances and consistency that they need to plan for our future.
I fully acknowledge that a ‘no deal’ scenario would create difficulties for the UK and that is why I voted for the deal twice - and will vote for it again next week. However, the removal of this option entirely diminishes our negotiating strength with the European Union as Parliament has not yet accepted the deal we have on the table and therefore we are still within a negotiating period. I believed without ‘no deal’ on the table – we would be left in a weaker position diplomatically and therefore on Tuesday I voted against the Government’s amended motion ruling out a ‘no-deal’ Brexit. However, as you will have realised, this motion was defeated and Parliament has made it clear that it wanted ‘no-deal’ removed.
Yesterday, I voted against the holding of a second referendum. I do not feel that it is appropriate or necessary to hold another vote, with the UK electorate having already clearly expressed their views in 2016. A subsequent vote would certainly not solve the issue nor would it seek to bring the country together at a time when we need certainty and cohesion. I was pleased to see Parliament agree with this stance, and overwhelmingly vote against a second EU referendum.
I also voted against delaying Brexit and the departure process. An extension, despite what is claimed by some, in no way strengthens the UK’s position and does not moves us any closer to securing a deal. Rather, it places needless further delays and goes against the overriding desire of the UK public: that Brexit be concluded swiftly and we move forward. There is a deal on the table, a good deal, and parliamentarians - from all sides - must support it. There is no appetite from the public to negotiate a completely new deal, and a delay would not guarantee that further negotiations would lead to an outcome that would command the majority of the House. We must move on.
I believe there is a strong, and winnable, argument for a small extension once a deal is voted through in order to legislate. However, I could not accept an extension of a year or two, which would have led us into possibly taking part in the next European elections and potentially remaining in some shape or form in the European Union.
To this end, in the coming week, it is paramount that Members of all parties come together, abandon political posturing, and work to deliver on the promise of Brexit. I appreciate that there are many of my constituents who will agree with this stance and many who will disagree, however, I hope that you will agree it is vital we emerge from this process in a strengthened and competitive position.
As you will be aware, I speak with my constituents every week and my actions are taken with their views firmly in my mind - and that I listen to opinions from every corner of our community.
I will be providing further updates soon to ensure that you are kept informed; however, if you have concerns that you would like to discuss or a matter you wish to raise, I would ask that you contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01307 495010 at your earliest convenience.
Kirstene Hair MP
Member of Parliament for Angus