Flawed deal will still be best for UK
Like many other MPs, I have been less than convinced by this withdrawal agreement and the accompanying political declaration.
My preference was the so-called Canada+++ model for an advanced free trade deal, which the EU offered.
That would have provided tariff-free, near-frictionless trade with the EU while opening up international trade opportunities.
A WTO or no-deal scenario was only possible with early preparation. But that did not happen.
This has left incontrovertible gaps in certification and regulation in areas such as operations in the North Sea and exposed our food and drink sector to a potential cliffedge that we must now avoid.
I have 30 years of experience in business and I understand that deals are all about timing.
The purists in parliament want to win 7-0. MPs have leveraged their vote so winning 4-3 is more realistic.
This withdrawal agreement gives stability to business, farming, fishing and jobs.
The backstop arrangement is designed to be so uncomfortable – for both the UK and EU – that it drives us towards that deal.
I understand the concerns of the DUP and other colleagues on the government benches, but we share the same ambition to deliver on the 2016 vote while protecting the union.
The future agreement on trade is vital and we must keep our eye on that goal.
I will support the withdrawal agreement, despite its flaws, not out of blind loyalty for the prime minister, but for the good of the country.