Now that Boris Johnson has secured a revised deal responding to previous concerns about the so-called Northern Ireland ‘backstop’ to uphold the Belfast / Good Friday Agreement, I believe we need to get behind the deal and allow the country to move forward. The deal allows us to get Brexit done and leave the EU in two weeks’ time, so we can focus on people’s broader priorities like our NHS, education and the police and bring the country back together again.
This new deal ensures that we take back control of our laws, trade, borders and money without disruption, and provides the basis of a new relationship with the EU based on free trade and friendly cooperation. There will be a special arrangement for Northern Ireland, reflecting the unique circumstances there. We will guarantee – and reinforce – the peace process and avoid any issues at the border.
I recognise that there are strongly held views, but we cannot continue the current uncertainty. Whether we voted for it or not, the public decided that we should leave the European Union in the 2016 referendum and I continue to believe that this must be respected and given effect to. Having made that in principle decision, the responsibility is now on Parliament to implement it.
The most consistent message that I receive on the doorstep is “we voted to leave and we just want to get this done”. Another referendum or a so called ‘people’s vote’ or confirmatory public vote will only create more delay and instability. We need to find a way through the division of recent months to enable the country to move forward.
For all of these reasons I will be voting for the deal in Parliament on Saturday.