I was a Remainer but now I’m backing Brexit all the way, as hard as you like

I was a Remainer but now I’m backing Brexit all the way, as hard as you like

At the back of my mind as I voted to Remain on 23rd June, was the thought that divorce can be one of the most stressful things in life. I knew the pain of an EU divorce was never going to be comfortable. While the decision was a hugely difficult one, my view was that the short-term uncertainty of a member state leaving the EU would be bad for business.

I don’t think I was alone in this assessment. Polling done during the campaign indicated that many who were sympathetic to Leave feared the consequences for their jobs and businesses and would therefore vote Remain.

Nevertheless, by sunrise on 24th June, the British people had made their decision. They were prepared to take that risk. And, although I think it will be a while before we know the full effects of Brexit, in the months following the vote, my natural caution has given way to a feeling of optimism.

I recall from my time in government all the frustrating ways that EU rules restrict us, monopolising regulations, slapping tariffs on trade partners and even micromanaging our waterways. I’ve come up with a new hobby of spotting the Brexit dividends where some commentators can only see doom and gloom.

I was a Remainer, but I have embraced the new direction of the country. I am backing Brexit all the way, as hard as you like, and I’m bullish about the UK’s future.

Becoming the world’s greatest free-trading nation is a vision in which I can believe.

I certainly won’t be voting against triggering Article 50. And I think this is where some of my Remain-voting colleagues are going wrong.

By voting against Article 50, they would simply be creating a situation which no-one wants, be it MPs, voters or business. Parliament voted to grant the decision on EU membership directly to the British people by a ratio of 6:1.

For all the uncertainty of the referendum process, to put the result down as merely advisory surely creates even greater uncertainty. To vote against Article 50 would be for Parliament to essentially change its own mind, going against the will of the people and indeed Parliament’s own judgment in entrusting the decision to them in the first place.

Voting against Article 50 would not reverse Brexit. It would simply freeze it. The UK would be stuck, hovering on the doorstep, paralysed by indecision as its body pulls in one direction and the head in the other.

Quite apart from the scorn that it would show for the electorate, it would frustrate the direction of the country. It would delay progress towards our new future. It would endlessly draw out the process of negotiating the best deal for Britain, causing the economy and British business lasting damage in the form of lost investment, wasted spending and political uncertainty.

By voting against Article 50, those very same people who voted against Brexit on the grounds of the uncertainty, would be themselves responsible for generating even greater uncertainty.