In the referendum of 2016 the decision was to leave the EU. I not only respect this decision but accept it and have been clear that Britain’s future now lies outside of the European Union.
The task now facing us is to manage that process with the least economic damage to the UK’s economy.
Since the triggering of Article 50, which started the withdrawal process, this should have been achievable but the Government has put the unity of Conservative Party over what is in our national interest. I believe it has been the Prime Minister’s strategy all along to string this process out as close to the 29th March so that the only option open to Parliament is to agree a deal or crash out with no deal.
Leaving without a deal would be economically disastrous for our country and not in the interests of thousands of hardworking families in North Durham and throughout the UK.
I voted against the Prime Minister’s deal which as you know was defeated. The reasons I voted against this was because it was not a final deal and, in many ways, postponed the agreement we need with the EU to protect our future trading relationship with Europe. It also did not address many of the contentious issues which still need to be decided.
I am also not prepared to give the Government another two years, which the deal proposed, to try and accommodate the internal divisions of the Conservative Party, rather than making decisions that are in the national interest.
Parliament has now decided to hold a number of indicative votes in order to establish if there is a consensus around an approach to move forward in our negotiations to withdraw from the EU. Following the referendum of 2016, Britain will leave the EU and I will support propositions which achieve this whilst maintaining our economic and security relationships with Europe. As proposals are brought forward, these will be the criteria on which I will base my decision.
I know that there are those who are arguing that we should have a second referendum, or that the final deal should be put to a referendum. I do not agree with this and will not support such a proposal.
I am always happy to meet with constituents and if you wish to discuss this matter further, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Rt Hon. Kevan Jones
Member of Parliament for North Durham