MP’s column: Priority is to deliver Brexit

MP Sir Edward Leigh EMN-190930-210628001
MP Sir Edward Leigh EMN-190930-210628001

As it is clear that there is no parliamentary majority in favour of any of the various options of moving forward, it is particularly disgraceful that the opposition parties are combining to deny referring to voters in a general election. The only reason they won’t agree to call an election is because they are afraid they will lose it.

They are absolutely determined to keep this country in the European Union no matter what the cost to our parliamentary democracy, and they know that any election will reward candidates who are in favour of securing Brexit and getting on with business, and will punish those whose only solution is to kick the can even further down the road by demanding an extension to Article 50.

The Benn Act seeks to tie the Government’s hand and, unusually for British law, requires action - rather than preventing it - by saying the Prime Minister must seek an extension if a deal is not reached by 19 October.

This is muddled law even at the best of times.

What is a deal? Does only a comprehensive UK-EU agreement qualify as a deal?

What if we have a series of issue by issue side deals covering matters like border crossings, or trade or financial services?

This law doesn’t say, and is only further evidence that the opposition is incapable of governing.

Right now the Government’s priority is to ensure that the United Kingdom ceases to be a European Union member state on 31 October 2019.

I have been absolutely clear that I support the Prime Minister and his efforts to find a deal that works for both the UK and the EU.

Politics is compromise by its very nature, and no one is going to get everything they want, but now is the time for coming together, and finding solutions that work.

And if we can’t find a deal, or a deal fails to gain a majority in Parliament, then it is obvious that we must leave the European Union without a deal.

There is absolutely nothing to be gained by further delay. Ministers and civil servants have been working furiously for quite some time to make sure this country is prepared to leave without a deal, including preparations for a multiplicity of scenarios.

The overwhelming majority of voters in Gainsborough chose leaving the EU over remaining in it, and it is high time the result of the referendum was acted upon.

We want a general election because the Conservative government wants to press on with addressing the needs of the country.

We want to focus on people’s priorities - like our schools, police, and the NHS.

Youth unemployment has halved since 2010, but we’re putting a further £4 million towards a programme to help disadvantaged young people find suitable work.

There’s also our £25 billion Road Investment Strategy to keep Britain moving.

While the opposition wants delay, inertia, and deadlock, the Conservative government is looking to do right by Lincolnshire, and the country.

Sir Edward Leigh MP

Gainsborough constituency