Over the past few days hundreds of constituents have contacted me about the latest series of what are known as ‘indicative votes’. I see every email and all contact is welcomed, even if we may disagree on some issues. The volume and the fact that I see every email, has slowed down my response time.
As for the series of votes held yesterday, Monday 1st April, I continue to have serious misgivings on the process that the ‘Commons has adopted. Governments of all political persuasions in the past (and in the future) have controlled what is debated and voted on. The Government sets the agenda and the House of Commons scrutinises that policy and legislative programme. Overturning a hundred years of government/commons balance for political expediency is regrettable. Especially as the Government had already committed to holding indicative votes.
I will lay out below how I voted on each motion, and briefly explain my reason for this vote:
(M) CONFIRMATORY PUBLIC VOTE - FOR
I have consistently supported the PM’s deal as, in my view, it respects the referendum result whilst delivering a deal that replicates many of the key benefits of membership, and protects jobs and the economy. I have previously been reluctant to support a further referendum because of the impact on people’s confidence in our democratic processes and because of the delay, of up to a year, a further referendum would cause. However, given that this motion is the only one that allowed me to signal my continued support for the deal on the table and the most likely route out of the log-jam, I voted for a confirmation vote.
C) CUSTOMS UNION - AGAINST
A Customs Union would preclude an independent trade policy, putting our economy at risk as the European Union would prioritise member state’s needs over ‘associate members’ needs. This option would still create issues with the Northern Ireland Border.
(D) COMMON MARKET 2.0 - AGAINST
This motion did not respect the referendum result, and requires financial contributions with no say on the budget, and requires compliance with all EU regulations without having a vote on those regulations. Further, it precludes an independent trade policy, and allows the EU to negotiate on our behalf. We would be disadvantaged as the EU would provide preferential treatment to EU member states. This would likely be detrimental to the City of London as a centre of world finance. In my view remaining in the EU would, as I opted and campaigned for in the referendum, be better than this ‘limbo’ option.
(G) PARLIAMENTARY SUPREMACY - AGAINST
I have always been consistent that I do not support a ‘no-deal’ exit from the European Union and I voted against no deal last time. I remain opposed to no deal. However, I could not support the motion this time as the proposer had made the motion unacceptable to me because it unnecessarily inserted the need for public inquiry. Also, it was important to support a motion that had the best chance of gathering significant support, one that a majority of MPs might agree on. The result on this motion in last week’s votes, suggested this was not that motion.