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Newspaper Columns

KM Column - Brexit (Indicative Votes) - 28 March 2019

I try to use this column to let you know what I am doing for our community. Most often, these are the local matters which we all care about, such as housing, improved school funding or better bus services. But understandably, one issue has been topping my inbox in recent weeks.

 I am writing this article at the beginning of a week that will have seen many votes and perhaps some changes to our position. So, as you read this please understand that I didn’t know what you know now and in these extraordinary times, I couldn’t have predicted whatever has happened!

 Since the vote to leave the European Union was held in 2016 there has been a great deal of debate about how we make this happen. Both locally and across the country, there was a narrow vote in favour of leaving. Though I supported remaining, I know why many wanted to leave.

  The instruction from the referendum was clear. And since then I have not once voted to frustrate this process, delay the outcome or to remain in the European Union. The issues Westminster is debating this week are on how to deliver on the referendum result. They are not, and should not be, about reversing it.

 But that doesn’t mean the questions before us are simple. The result and the consequences can be interpreted in many ways. For me, we need to deliver on leaving the European Union but we also need to recognise the geographical proximity that makes it essential for our economy that we continue to have a good working relationship. That’s why agreeing a deal is the best outcome. The one negotiated by the Prime Minister takes us out of the political union, ends the payments, stops free movement and ends our membership of the EU, but it does so while keeping our trade flowing.

 Of course, it’s only a transition deal, which means if accepted we would still need to negotiate our future relationship over the next couple of years. It’s not the end, and merely lays down the terms of our departure, but it fulfils our responsibility to deliver the referendum. That’s why I was happy to support it.

Georgie Welford