I have previously outlined my approach to Brexit here. Namely, my approach has been to respect the clear wish of the majority of my constituents who voted to leave the EU in the referendum and to honour the subsequent manifesto that I was elected on in the 2017 General Election.
I followed these principles in the indicative votes on Tuesday. My clear preference remains to leave with a deal, and I will continue to support the Withdrawal Agreement if it is voted on again. Of the other options available, the only two which honoured the referendum result were the so-called ‘managed no deal’ and no deal itself. Having been involved in detailed no deal planning, whilst I believe it is a sub-optimal way forward than the Withdrawal Agreement, I do believe from what I have seen that it remains a viable alternative.
However, I would like to be clear. I am prepared to leave the EU without a deal if it is the only way to ensure we leave.
I did not support the so-called softer Brexit options as they were contrary to my manifesto commitments to leave the customs union.
I also did not support revoking Article 50 or having a second referendum as both options would not honour my commitment to respect the original referendum result.
Today I shall support the Withdrawal Agreement. If we are to deliver on the promise we made to Milton Keynes and the British public, the Withdrawal Agreement is the surest guarantee that we leave the EU on May 22nd and get out of this precarious impasse. Though not perfect, it is a pragmatic deal that offers security for Milton Keynes residents and businesses while delivering on the key promises of the referendum. It is supported by the Federation of Small Businesses and CBI, and local employers such as Santander, Aston Martin and Volkswagen.
If the Withdrawal Agreement passes, then further indicative votes next week will take place on the political declaration. If the deal does not pass, we risk leaving without a deal on April 12th, cancelling Brexit or a further extension in which the UK takes part in EU elections.
This continued deadlock and prevarication only serves to harm my constituents, local businesses and our economy. Now is the time to end the uncertainty and leave the European Union in an orderly fashion.