10 DEC 2018

Brexit Update 11.30am

Thank you to everyone who has written to me about Brexit and the Parliamentary votes due to take place on Tuesday. It used to be said that 'a week is a long time in politics', but the situation appears to be evolving far more rapidly than that.

As things stand, it looks certain that the Approval Motion for the Withdrawal Agreement and Future Framework will fail to pass the Commons. This defeat would then come on the heels of three avoidable defeats last week where the government was found in contempt of Parliament for refusing to abide by its own promise to publish its legal advice, and on the issue of Parliament's demand to be able to amend future motions on Brexit.

In 'normal' times, the official opposition would then move to a vote of no confidence in order to try to trigger a general election. That Labour now say that they will delay, this reflects their ongoing reluctance to come off the fence on the issue of a People's Vote, as they have long promised their members that they would move to back such a vote if their bid to trigger an election failed.

The simple reality of the situation we face is that both the main political parties are divided on Brexit. The same is true of our country, this constituency, communities and even within families.

Parliament has reached gridlock, with no majority in support of any of the options, not for the Prime Minister's compromise, not for the softest 'Norway' style Brexit, with or without a customs union, not for a Canada style free trade agreement and least of all, because of the scale of the consequences, for No Deal without any transition.

Once the approval motion falls, it is likely that the PM will try to seek further concessions from the EU but their position has remained united and that looks unlikely. Coming back to the Commons with cosmetic warm words will not yield a different result.

The fact is that this negotiation was always going to be far tougher than was claimed during the referendum campaign in 2016. Far from being 'the easiest deal in human history', breaking away from more than four decades of close ties will leave Britain poorer and more isolated. Brexit is about far more than free trade deals or being in the fourth division trading on WTO rules.

The uncomfortable Brexit reality is set out in the WA and FF, full of trade-offs, compromises and future uncertainties that please no one. If agreed this wouldn't end the wrangling, the real negotiations about our future relationship would just be beginning as set out in the 26 page wish list of the Future Framework, but with no leverage on the part of the UK.

I cannot support it for that reason, but also because I do not think it has the valid consent of the British people. At the time of the original referendum, Brexit was sold on a false prospectus of unrealistic promises and at a time when no one could say which of the many versions would be the final outcome. We now know what Brexit looks like and people are in a position to weigh up the risks and benefits of the negotiated deal as opposed to unrealistic promises that cannot be delivered. Rather than plunge us into weeks of constitutional crisis or risk crashing out with no deal or transition, I hope the PM will take her deal to the people with a simple question about whether they wish to proceed on these terms or stick with the deal we already have. I will be supporting a People's Vote.

6 comments

To paraphrase your own parties mantra, which you stood on at the last ill-advised election.. No Government is better than a Bad Government..
- Giles, Paignton

Sarah, much is made of you following your conscience on the matter of our relationship with the EU. Your contract with those that voted for you and 'your' party was based on what you had said and the Conservative manifesto. You have renaged on both, undermining our negotiating position........ If you do indeed have a conscience you should resign forthwith and stand as an Independent, you'll no longer get our vote by weasel words and smoke and mirrors.
- John

Sarah, You talk of the people’s vote, what about your constituents who put you into parliament ? We have already voted. Are you saying we are uninformed? A very patronising view. If you have changed your views and want to vote to stay in, to a Europe who are making sure it’s as difficult to leave as possible as a ‘lesson’ to other nations disgruntled, then put your seat to the members of your own constituency. That’s as much democracy as the people’s vote you are championing. If we fail to leave now you are promoting a nation to be in an organisation that will keep kicking us and we will have zero teeth. Your view is also a real kick in the teeth for Brixham and it’s fishermen who brave dangerous work place. Be careful what you wish for and be democratic, poll your constituents first before you promote the ‘people’s vote’. But you won’t do that will you. The only thing I will agree with is the support of the prime minister. The Conservative party...no others! mess. Cameron wanted power and sold out to keep his personal ambitions. Then runs away. Then the prime minister called an election, again to put down her own party ‘rebels’ not the opposition and that failed. Since then though she has sought to deliver to peoples vote to leave, unlike you who has chan ged your mind. Support the prime minster and her deal. Your as much to blame for putting the prime minister under the pressure she is under.
- Mike Freeman

I am pleased that you are taking a principalled stance in holding out for a People’s vote. Now that the government is falling apart, not able to find any way forward , it time for us, the people, to have the final say on our future. That would be democracy. We now know the facts and the implications of Brexit, economically, socially and politically, this is what we need to vote on, not the lies and misinformation we were fed the first time around.
- Helen Petit

Whole heartedly agree with John "if indeed you have any conscience, you should resign and stand as an Independent". Your dithering, and lack of support for the outcome of Brexit will not get my vote.
- Charles

strange when the campaign started you were in the Brexit camp then when you had all their plans and tactics you jumped ship do you have no morals no self pride just another leech why dont you resign and stand as an independent
- Stephen Andrews

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