MPs must focus and deliver the prize for the sake of democracy
There can be no denying that last week’s events in Parliament have changed things. We have been shown, in the starkest terms yet, that there are plenty of people who want to thwart Brexit.
On Wednesday in the House of Commons we saw beginnings of this breaking out into the open.
And its emergence should unite those of us who voted Leave in our determination to get Brexit over the line. It should focus Brexit-supporting MPs’ minds next week, because the possibility of losing the prize we all fought for is now very real. As the protectors of our democracy, we simply cannot allow this to happen.
And while it’s clear what some of my fellow MPs don’t want, there is no consensus around any viable alternative. Parliament has to be for something. It is not good enough to simply say what it is against. This deal delivers on Brexit. We are ending free movement, ending payments to the EU, and ending the jurisdiction of the European Court.
As I have previously said in the House, we have had to make compromises along the way to secure the bigger prize of a deal. It’s not perfect, but it’s a good deal, which respects the referendum result.
And can we even be sure that any of the alternatives that have been proposed would get a consensus in Parliament? I certainly don’t think so.
The simple fact remains that the only way to guarantee that Brexit will go ahead is for MPs to vote for the Prime Minister’s deal on Tuesday.
The question for those who oppose the Prime Minister’s deal is this: if you don’t like the deal, what is your preferred option?
Do you want to paralyse the Brexit process in the hope that something better comes along? Are you pushing for a second referendum, potentially leading to no Brexit at all and a demolition of the voters’ trust in democracy, the like of which we’ve never previously seen? Do you believe that there’s a credible scenario in which we embark on a renegotiation in two months – despite the EU having ruled that out – that produces the perfect deal out of nowhere, like a rabbit out of a hat? Or do you want to roll the dice and go for no deal and risk Parliament bringing the whole process crashing down?
These options are all either undesirable or unachievable but the very worst of them all would be a push for a second referendum. That would be an affront to democracy.
And there may be those reading this who believe that the UK will thrive without a deal. I understand that point of view, but it is irresponsible to play down the short-term risks.
The choices are very clear. After this week, things have changed. There is a another possibility coming into sight which is no Brexit at all.
It’s obvious that voting for the deal on Tuesday is the only way to guarantee Brexit. Let’s unite behind it and frustrate the Brexit blockers. The stakes couldn’t be higher.