WEST­MIN­STER DI­ARY

The Wokingham Paper - - VIEWPOINTS - John Red­wood

AWHOLE se­ries of emails are ar­riv­ing in my email box and doubt­less in the email boxes of other MPs drafted to ask how will I rep­re­sent the con­stituent, given their view.

There are dif­fer­ent ver­sions, with some of the drafts used by peo­ple who want to leave, some who wish to re­main, and some who want a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum. Some are in­di­vid­u­ally worded by con­stituents. There are sev­eral dif­fer­ent views, but an MP of course only has one vote.

There is, how­ever, com­mon ground in the vast ma­jor­ity of the emails I re­ceive.

Whether com­ing from Re­main or Leave sup­port­ers, the big ma­jor­ity dis­like the With­drawal Agree­ment. Both sides sees this as an at­tempted com­pro­mise which suits few.

Both see the Agree­ment turns us into a rule taker and bill payer. It re­moves our bar­gain­ing levers by legally bind­ing us to give the EU what it wants be­fore we have se­cured what we might like.

Most peo­ple see this rightly as a very bad deal, with no agree­ment on what we might get out of an even­tual Fu­ture Part­ner­ship Agree­ment.

Some Re­main vot­ers think it would be bet­ter to stay in the EU to have vote and voice as well as tak­ing their rules and pay­ing the bills.

Leave vot­ers say the With­drawal Agree­ment is not leav­ing, as we stay in the sin­gle mar­ket and cus­toms union and carry on pay­ing large sums to buy more time for talks.

This makes my task that much eas­ier.

My judg­ment has been through­out that this Agree­ment has to be voted down.

In the light of the ex­ten­sive cor­re­spon­dence I have re­ceived I do not have to worry about whether I am speak­ing for my con­stituents in so do­ing, as a ma­jor­ity tell me they too want it voted down.

The ques­tion of what we should then do pro­duces a va­ri­ety of an­swers among con­stituents.

I will re­turn to these is­sues

over the pe­riod of the vote and the se­quel to the vote. I feel I need to hon­our my prom­ises to elec­tors in the 2017 Gen­eral Elec­tion when I said I would sup­port car­ry­ing out the will of the na­tion in the ref­er­en­dum.

The res­ig­na­tion of yet an­other Min­is­ter, the 11th to go on this mat­ter so far, is a re­minder of how Mrs May can­not win this vote un­less Labour change their minds.

Min­is­ters give up in­ter­est­ing jobs re­luc­tantly, in or­der to vote against the gov­ern­ment.

That is eleven more votes against the Agree­ment so far. It is dif­fi­cult to see how the Prime Min­is­ter could carry on if she goes down to de­feat on this cen­tral pol­icy she has de­signed.

The sooner we tell the EU we can­not sign the With­drawal Agree­ment the bet­ter. The sooner we ta­ble a proper Free Trade Agree­ment and see if they want one the bet­ter.

John Red­wood is the MP for Wok­ing­ham. Next week: Ma Rodda MP for Read­ing East

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