Although I want a Brexit deal, No Deal would now be less risky than even more uncertainty

Although I want a Brexit deal, No Deal would now be less risky than even more uncertainty

I campaigned and voted to Remain in the EU because, for all its imperfections, I believed staying in and working on a collaborative basis was better for our country’s future. Like many, I was surprised and disappointed when the majority who voted chose to Leave. But as someone who believes in democracy, I committed to respecting their decision as did the Labour Party in its 2017 General Election manifesto.

I hear those who say the Leave campaign lied about the money promised for the NHS and the ease with which we could depart. However, the Remain campaign also made claims about an erosion in workers’ rights and environmental protection which in reality can be prevented. They also predicted economic catastrophe when there is no such certainty. So attempting to selectively delegitimise the referendum result because of “lies” is not in reality credible.

I opposed Theresa May’s deal because it offered the worst of all worlds. We should do everything possible to leave the EU with a better deal.

However, we cannot go on like this and it is perfectly reasonable to set an end date for negotiations of 31st October. For such a deadline to be meaningful, it is a simple fact that if an agreement cannot be reached, leaving with No Deal will be the only option.

There are a few MPs who believe the referendum result should be respected but oppose leaving with No Deal. However, the vast majority of MPs opposing No Deal or supporting another referendum are hell-bent on overturning the referendum result. They claim to oppose No Deal and/or support a so-called affirmative referendum – but in reality they are determined to thwart Brexit under any circumstances. They know full well that taking No Deal off the table will weaken the UK’s negotiating position.

I did not support Boris Johnson’s decision to reduce the number of days Parliament is sitting by introducing a Queen’s Speech. However, events of the last week have shown that there is sufficient parliamentary time for both debate and emergency legislation.

Leaving with No Deal is an economic risk, but so is continual uncertainty and yet more extensions. Uncertainty has led to business investment and consumer spending drying up. Continued uncertainty is likely to tip us into recession with a devastating impact on jobs and people’s standard of living. This is now at least as big a risk as leaving without a deal.

It is for these reasons that I opposed Parliament taking control of the business from the Government last Tuesday and then voted against legislation which sends the wrong message to the EU about the need to make changes to the existing Withdrawal Agreement.

I want us to achieve an agreement which is fair, but the referendum result must be respected not sabotaged – and we must leave with no more extensions.