Flawed deal will still be best for UK

The Press and Journal (Moray) - - NEWS -

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.

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