EU Withdrawal Agreement

I have received a very large number of emails, both for and against the proposals and urging a wide range of actions from a 'People's Vote' to supporting the deal and to exiting without a deal at all.

I have read and considered carefully all points of view expressed by constituents. Given the huge number of letters I have received recently, please forgive this 'standard' reply but this is the only way I can provide a timely reply to you.

I did not actively campaign in the referendum for either side but I made my personal decision to vote Leave, having weighed up carefully the pros and cons of each option. I have faith in the public that they also collectively made a considered choice and, consequently I do not believe it appropriate to ignore the instruction that the country gave in the referendum and ask them to think again. I think that would undermine democracy and create deep uncertainty. Ever since the referendum, I have been devoting my time to working on the best possible Brexit and future arrangements which allows us both to co-operate sensibly with the EU and forge new trading and other partnerships around the world.

For example, I am currently closely involved in the Agriculture and Fisheries Bills which are currently being considered by Parliament. These two Bills set out much better strategies for agriculture and fisheries once we leave the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

I have read the Withdrawal Agreement and Future Partnership documents carefully. While there are a number of provisions which I would wish to see changed, as a whole I do believe the proposals are a sensible way forward. They contain many advantages, and I attach for your information a transcript of the PM's statement to Parliament on Monday 26th November which summarises these.

We also have to bear in mind the alternatives. While I have always believed that the UK will prosper in the long-term in any Brexit scenario, a 'No Deal' Brexit would, however, cause short-term difficulties.

There is also a real risk that rejection of this agreement outright would lead to no Brexit at all, undermine the Union and cause significant political and economic instability. While there are many other solutions that have been put forward, I have yet to see one that addresses all the issues, is deliverable and respects the democratic wishes of the country.

I am not prepared to risk that or to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

I am therefore giving my backing to these proposals and the Prime Minister personally. I accept that this will not please everybody, but I can assure you that I have weighed up carefully the pros and cons of each, and the wide range of representations made to me, and made my decision in what I believe to be the overall interests of my constituency and country.