As your MP I feel it is important to set out my thinking on the current situation we face in Parliament.
There has been a great deal of focus on disagreements amongst MPs regarding the UK’s departure from the EU. But there was one issue which generated almost universal agreement 2 years ago and that was triggering Article 50 following the Referendum result, giving notice that the UK would leave the EU. Whilst the departure date has been delayed once to give more time for negotiations, the law, passed by MPs, is unambiguous, the UK will leave the EU now on 31 October. The only question remains is whether the proposed terms of departure can be supported by a majority of MPs.
Personally I, along with many MPs, have supported the Government’s proposed Withdrawal Agreement in Parliament on 3 occasions but I respect that others have preferred to advocate an alternative. I will continue to support the Government in its quest to find a departure agreement that can command a majority amongst MPs. But to be clear, if that isn’t possible, in accordance with the law, we will leave the EU on 31 October without an agreement in place.
Between now and 31 October there will be a further meeting of EU Members on 17 October. Only then will it be clear whether EU member states wish to change the current negotiated Withdrawal Agreement. If changes were offered the period between 17 and 31 October could be crucial in attempting to get support for this through the House of Commons.
The Official Opposition and other political parties continue to have the same privileges and procedures in place to propose alternative plans or to call for a ‘vote of no confidence” to change the Government. Over the past two years, other than delaying our departure, none of the alternatives put forward have gained majority support, there is no evidence that has changed.
For too long the country has been trapped in a Brexit quagmire. The Queen’s Speech on 14 October will be a positive statement taking our country forward, setting out the Government’s legislative Agenda on a host of crucial domestic issues as well as Brexit. As I see it, there is unlikely to be any significant change in the EU’s proposals until after 17 October EU Council meeting. MPs who oppose the current law and the Government’s plan can put forward alternatives when we sit in September and then in October once the EU’s stance is know. The proroguing of Parliament prior to the Queen’s Speech on 14 October will in practice have little impact on those who wish to put forward alternatives to the Government’s approach.
What people in Basingstoke tell me is, regardless of whether they support the UK’s membership of the EU, they want the country to move on. What the Prime Minister has set out is a clear and coherent plan to move forward and I believe it is right for the future of our country.
Rt Hon Maria Miller MP