I urge Tory MPs to reject the Withdrawal Agreement and back a clean break today

I urge Tory MPs to reject the Withdrawal Agreement and back a clean break today

As Chairman of Canterbury Conservative Association, I have been asked by local members to relay concerns about today’s vote on the Withdrawal Agreement, to Conservative MPs in particular.

The public pays close attention to the Brexit debate in Parliament. Many know the Withdrawal Agreement has been overwhelmingly rejected – twice. It is unlikely that Leave voters would be convinced this Withdrawal Agreement delivers on the referendum or that those opposing this maligned deal could be held responsible for ‘stopping Brexit’.

It seems that there is only an unsteady and fragile caucus in favour of the Withdrawal Agreement today. Our negotiating partners may doubt that precarious coalition can also deliver the primary legislation needed to actually implement a deal over the coming weeks. If a vote for the Withdrawal Agreement today cannot ultimately deliver, sacrificing voters’ trust and offering Labour influence over the future relationship would be a high price to pay for nought.

The prospect of an early General Election is rising. Whether it is called next week, next month or next year, the public will vent their anger at what one voter calls a “pig’s ear Parliament”. If other MPs try to insist on a bad deal, revocation, or a forever extension, they will have a tough pitch to make on polling day. Conservative MPs can stay in step with voters by rejecting the Withdrawal Agreement – and in doing so, ensure the next election does not become a midwife for Marxism.

The Article 50 negotiations have created difficult choices. However, all sides confirm that there will be no hard border on the island of Ireland. There are numerous standstill arrangements in place to mitigate No Deal. And preparations are already made in the private sector. A clean break and starting the next phase of talks afresh is now the best option. Procedural changes and indicative votes have not offered a consensus alternative to that – and the EU27 would not barter with 650 MPs if they did.

Sadly, it is scant surprise that the same advisers who informed the Brexit negotiations, delivered the 2017 General Election campaign, curtailed collective responsibility in Cabinet, forced good Ministers to resign only to adopt their proposals, and secured the worst Parliamentary defeat in history are now promoting the Withdrawal Agreement as a good idea.

There is a better way. Please vote against the Withdrawal Agreement today.