My thanks to those who have contacted me with their thoughts on Europe. As many of you will have seen, events concerning Brexit have been moving quickly and I have been settling many of my views and ideas.
I should begin by saying that I very much agree with the ruling of the High Court that Parliament – not the Government – should trigger Article 50. In case you haven’t already, you can read the judgement here – it is very good! Though the result of the Government’s appeal to this ruling is not expected until the New Year, I will be sure to follow this closely. However, the case has been further complicated because the Welsh and Scottish Governments are now involved, causing constitutional issues the likes of which we have never had to face. For example, it seems the Scottish Parliament must agree to trigger Article 50 before it can be triggered by the UK Parliament/Government – a decision I am sure many will understand the consequences of!
Throughout the Referendum campaign, I stood by my manifesto commitment to respect and honour the result of the vote, and I have not gone back on this pledge. Even though I profoundly disagreed with the decision to leave the EU, I cannot go back on my commitment regardless of how strongly I feel. As such, I will be voting to enact Article 50 if Parliament is granted a vote on the matter. I also believe the majority of MPs and members of the House of Lords will do the same. Such a vote can only strengthen the Prime Minister’s mandate to invoke the article and improve our negotiating stance.
It is worth recording that the result for Broxtowe was for the larger Borough, not the constituency which I represent as an MP. Though I couldn’t attend the count, my campaign manager and leader of the Borough Council did. They agreed that based on our knowledge of the vote in areas like Wollaston (who voted Remain) and Ashfield (who voted Leave), the constituency result was much closer than that which was reported at the count for the Borough – though I do accept that Leave narrowly won.
Nevertheless, I know that I also have a duty to represent the concerns of the 48% who did not vote for our country to leave the EU. Going forward, I believe that we must remain a member of the single market, as the Conservative Party’s 2015 Manifesto supported, and that we should also remain in the EU customs union and maintain the free movement of people. To turn away from any of these would cause grave economic harm which will take decades to overcome.
I think it is important to remember that the EU Referendum brought about many rifts and divisions – between friends, families and throughout our country. According to our Chief Constable there has been an 18% rise in hate crimes in Nottinghamshire and she told me there are clear links to the atmosphere surrounding the EU Referendum. All of us now need to work together to heal those divisions and restore tolerance and hope above prejudice and fear.
It will take us years to leave the EU completely, and it is vital that we make sensible transitional arrangements whilst we negotiate a deal. You can be assured I will continue to stand up for what I believe in and am working with colleagues from all parties in the best interests of my constituents – especially the younger ones who will pay the heaviest price of a ‘Hard’ Brexit.
Whether or not you agree with my views on this topic, I believe it is very important that we come together and work to get the very best deal for our country as we move to leave the EU, and I hope you can respect my views as I respect yours.