I am receiving a lot of correspondence from constituents on the UK's withdrawal from the EU on which the outcome is yet to be determined. I have therefore written this update with an invite to my constituents to a public meeting to come and hear more and have your say.
As at the time of writing, the EU have agreed to the UK’s request to delay the UK’s departure from the EU until:
1. May 22 - if MPs approve the Withdrawal Agreement by 29 March; or
2. April 12 - if MPs have not approved the Withdrawal Agreement and by which date the UK would have left without a deal or set out its steps for a much longer extension (which could mean European Parliament elections and status quo).
Last week, it appeared that support in Parliament was swinging behind the Withdrawal Agreement. The Speaker then delayed the vote, meaning the DUP and others did not have to make a decision this week, leading to a loss of momentum. The EU27 then refused to give an extension to 30 June. I am keen that we deliver a conclusion to this matter so regard the EU27 as having done us a favour and caused MPs to finally vote for action rather than rejection.
You will have noted that the Prime Minister’s frustration with Parliament became even more apparent last week. I am not going to criticise her for the words she used because I, too, voted for the Withdrawal Agreement and for certainty back in 2018. I have been uttering the same frustration myself for months now, as many will have heard, so she rather spoke for me as well. I recognise those who do not support her deal may have taken the message differently.
An amendment was passed on Monday night (25 March) which gives MPs an opportunity to vote on a number of further options - likely to include a "softer Brexit", a customs union with the EU and another referendum. Today we are voting on 8 of these options that were selected by the Speaker of the House of Commons.
As the legislation stands, and for which I and the majority of MPs voted for, we either leave with a deal or we leave with no deal by 29 March. The majority of MPs in Parliament are against the current deal and against no deal. The majority also support an extension in time. I expect by the end of this week there will be votes in Parliament which leave us with additional or different choices.
This will, I hope, be a week for decisions. I made mine last year. It may not have been what you supported but it would have brought about certainty.
I have previously held three series of public meetings when we have reached crucial stages. I would like to invite constituents to another public meeting so I can explain the week and we can have a discussion. Details are as follows:
Date: Saturday 30 March
Venue: St Augustine’s Church, St Augustine’s Close, off Cooden Drive, Bexhill on Sea, TN39 3AZ
Seating will be allocated on a first come first served basis.
I am sorry that this matter is still undetermined. I share the disbelief that it has got to this stage and am determined to play my part to deliver some certainty.
I hope you will join on Saturday and I will endeavour to keep you updated during the week itself via my website and newsletter which you can sign up to here http://eepurl.com/boKBc9