I have been writing a Brexit Blog Post for a year as the best way to respond to correspondence from constituents covering every conceivable position on the UK’s decision to leave the EU. All my previous posts are available here:
Hindsight is a wonderful thing and I could once again reiterate the missteps that led us here, not least Theresa May agreeing sequencing in a linear negotiation with the EU (one where the Free Trade Deal follows a bridging Withdrawal Agreement) where the implied position of the Lisbon Treaty is that these should be in parallel so the uncertainty of the negotiations was completed in two years.
But at every step, the people elected to represent their constituents’ interests and implement their decision to leave the EU have continued to ignore or even reject the result of the referendum.
At the election in 2017 I was re-elected, along with over 80% of my Parliamentary colleagues in all parties to deliver on the referendum result. The people chose to leave. The result of the referendum must be respected, even if it was unexpected. The ballot was a decision and presented to voters as such. The attempts to override it have already corroded our democracy. Enabling it to be overridden will risk damage fatal to our democracy.
This is largely an abrogation by Labour MPs, but it is the Conservatives who have been most exposed as a minority government to the baleful influence of those determined to reverse the 2016 decision whatever the risk to our democracy or, at least as bad, hobble Britain's future by tying ourselves to EU policies losing power over our future policy whilst surrendering power and influence within the EU's decision-making institutions.
The Prime Minister’s approach has reinvigorated the drive to get Brexit done and he has exceeded all expectations. Boris Johnson successfully forced Brussels to re-open the deal, ensured Britain will no longer be indefinitely bound by EU laws and taxes removing the backstop and the jurisdiction of the European Court in Britain beyond the transition period. The Northern Ireland assembly can opt out of the “best of both worlds” market option should they so wish, reflecting the special status of the Good Friday Agreement bestowed on the province. It is now our responsibility to set out a positive vision for a post Brexit UK.
The benefits of Brexit will be long-term
The case for leaving the EU was made and won in 2016. This was a decision for the long term with the inevitable short term costs of a major strategic change of direction. Regrettably, too much of the focus of the debate since 2016 has been on these short term costs not on the long term opportunities.
I have already urged colleagues and constituents alike to look at this process with our long-term prosperity in mind. Just like families and businesses plan for the long term, there is no reason why we shouldn’t also think about the future of our country in this way either.
Brexit is a decision that will need to be evaluated through the impact it has on the future generations of our country. There is no need for me to repeat the arguments of the referendum campaign yet to clarify I, along with the 17.4 million people who voted to leave the European Union, believe that this will be for the better, and we were comprehensively warned of the short term costs, that so far seem to have been wildly exaggerated.
Trapping ourselves in the trade and regulatory policy of the EU and outside its political institutions is as stupid a compromise as could be envisaged. I supported the Prime Minister’s ambitious and successful re-opening of the withdrawal agreement and think the will of the country now to get Brexit done is clear.
A positive future
Having said back in May that an election was required, there is now an opportunity for the Conservatives to end the Brexit psychodrama and set out our one nation values which are central to a successful delivery of Global Britain. These include open and free trade, rule of law, universal human rights, development, climate change and global stability.
These values underpinning Global Britain will provide a convincing answer to those who voted remain, particularly the young, who may have been misled into thinking Brexit was a statement of narrow nationalism. With a new Speaker and a new House delivering Brexit, I hope to deliver the choice the country took in 2016 and to continue to represent constituents in the same way as my record on human rights, social justice, and freedom shows, underpinned by sensible economic management to enable good public services with security at home and abroad.
Crispin Blunt MP