August is always a strange time for politics. With the absence of breaking news from Westminster, commentators speculate to an extraordinary extent, blowing minutiae into big, out of context, events.
Brexit, of course, is dominating absolutely all the political media. And it is mainly speculating about a no deal Brexit. More locally, people are speculating on my position on Brexit. So in the interests of absolute, crystal clear clarity, here is my position.
Although it is well known that I campaigned for Remain, on the very first opportunity I had after the vote to Leave, I made it perfectly clear that it was my duty to deliver the outcome of that vote.
Indeed, there have been 6 occasions that MPs could have voted to deliver the Brexit outcome: the referendum, triggering the Article 50 process of withdrawal, the Repeal Act (that starts the process), and three opportunities to vote through the withdrawal agreement.
It is the failure of Theresa May to get through her withdrawal agreement that means we are still in the EU. Die-hard Brexiteers have voted for Brexit on just three occasions. Even our new PM only voted for it on four, supporting the Withdrawal Agreement on the last occasion. I supported Brexit on 5 occasions.
Do I think that a no-deal Brexit is a bad idea? Yes, but so does Boris Johnson, promising that the chance of a no-deal Brexit is “one in a million”. Whilst the government is preparing for a no-deal Brexit, that is a negotiating tactic to get the EU around the table to try to find some improvements on the Withdrawal Agreement (to get the hard Brexiteers on side to secure a deal). So, my position that we need a deal is 100% aligned to that of the new government.
It is well known that many my colleagues in the House of Commons are sworn to vote down a no-deal Brexit – mainly opposition parties, and a few Conservative MPs. I am not one of them as I intend to continue to support the government secure Brexit.
An un-prepared no-deal Brexit runs the risk of damaging our economy, which is why I am supporting the government to get the deal. But as I have made clear, I am not prepared to de-stabilise the government and risk a Corbyn led government, that will be far worse than a no-deal Brexit, by voting against the government’s plans.