As many of you will know, I believe leaving the EU without a deal would be deeply damaging to the economy, employers and the finances of households in Watford. That’s why I have consistently pressed the Prime Minister to avoid this scenario at all costs and provide businesses with the certainty they need at this critical point.
In light of this, I chose to abstain in the main substantive motion tonight, which was to prevent a no deal Brexit in all circumstances. I could not in good conscience vote in support of leaving the EU without a deal, knowing the chaos that would follow.
I had voted against the similar Spelman amendment simply because I agreed with its own author, who had tried to withdraw it, believing the main Government motion was more powerful.
As that amendment very narrowly passed, the main motion then became the only opportunity to vote to prevent no deal on 29 March, which is completely consistent with the Government’s preferred and regularly stated position. I have also always said that the best option for the UK, given that the country voted to leave, is to leave with a good deal.
I regret that Brexit may now be delayed because many Members of Parliament have failed to get behind the Prime Minister’s Withdrawal Agreement, which will deliver the best possible exit from the EU by ensuring we leave in an orderly way.
I truly wanted 29 March to be a day of new beginnings. When we could finally start to focus on maximising the prospects for the UK outside the EU. But we can still achieve that.
Now is the time for Members of Parliament to look again at the options before us. The only way to put an end to all of this uncertainty is to stop chasing undeliverable wishes and start focusing on delivering Brexit, which is what the country and my constituent’s want. By failing to compromise, we could end up with a prolonged delay and the possibility of a Corbyn led hard-left Government, which will bring our economy crashing back to its knees.