UPDATE: Leaving the European Union

I want to make it clear that I do not want to leave the EU without a deal.  It is not my preferred option and I would rather leave with an agreement. The terms of the existing Withdrawal Agreement in its current form are, however, unacceptable to Parliament. MPs have rejected it on three occasions.

That is why I am glad that the Prime Minister is seeking to reach a new and better deal with the EU. This would provide certainty and stability on both sides of the Channel. If our European neighbours refuse to negotiate, however, the country must be prepared to leave without a deal by 31 October. It must be remembered that only the Government has the power to change the exact date and changing this has to be with the agreement of the EU.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has confirmed that all necessary funding will be provided to prepare for a no deal scenario. A total of £1.1 billion is being allocated immediately and a further £1 billion will be available if required. Changes to tax rules will also help to boost productivity and increase competitiveness if no deal is reached. EU citizens’ rights will be guaranteed in all circumstances.

I believe that not leaving by 31 October could lead to a catastrophic loss of confidence in our political system. The indecision of the last three years and the repeated failure to deliver on the referendum result cannot be allowed to continue. The trust of the electorate in their politicians is at stake.

In regards to proroguing Parliament, the decision to end the current parliamentary session will enable the Prime Minister to put a fresh domestic programme in front of MPs for debate and scrutiny while also ensuring that there is good time before and after the European Council for Parliament to further consider Brexit issues. Votes on the Queens Speech are likely to fall on Monday 21 and Tuesday 22 October. It is the top priority of the Government to bring forward a new bold and ambitious legislative agenda: helping the NHS, fighting violent crime, investing in infrastructure and connectivity, which is important for the South West as is strengthening public services and cutting the cost of living. A good start has already been made increasing funding for 20,000 extra police officers, new investment in the NHS and strong environmental commitments. It will be important that Parliament is sitting both before and after the European Council and if a deal with the EU is forthcoming, (I very much hope it will be); Parliament will then have the opportunity to pass the Withdrawal Agreement Bill required for ratification ahead of 31 October.

I do hope this goes some way to addressing your concerns in this respect.