Brexit deal ‘will go to the wire’, says East Devon MP

PUBLISHED: 10:09 07 January 2019 | UPDATED: 10:35 07 January 2019

East Devon MP, Sir Hugo Swire. Picture: Wikimedia.

East Devon MP, Sir Hugo Swire. Picture: Wikimedia.


“I think the EU’s plan was to offer such a bad deal that we wouldn’t risk leaving at all.”

This year, the single most significant political event will occur in that we will be leaving the EU.

Theresa May, the Prime Minister, in her new year message promises a ‘new chapter’ but it still isn’t clear whether it will be a thriller or a tale with a happy ending.

No-one can predict the outcome.

The meaningful vote is due to happen on Tuesday, January 15, and a Brussels summit takes place in March, a week before Britain is due to leave.

My instinct tells me that a deal of sorts will probably be agreed therefore avoiding a No Deal scenario but that it will go to the wire.

Last year was unquestionably a roller coaster ride politically but collectively, we now need to try and dispel the pessimism before it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Whatever commentators say, we are not in a constitutional crisis: The Queen is still on her throne, the Church of England is still inviting people to join its pews, no one apart from a few Labour opportunists are really seeking a General Election.

And although we are divided on the issue of Brexit, there is no wider crisis in our society.

Despite everything, Britain is actually flourishing, with more people in work than ever in our history. We have rising investment, booming exports, a record stock exchange, rising wages, and an unprecedented number of startups.

Even Forbes magazine pronounced the UK the best place in the world to do business.

At Westminster, however, things are not quite so rosy. Many of us are still torn whether to back Mrs May’s deal. In its present form I have said I cannot.

I came to this decision because I thought the EU was making unfair demands on us which included a ‘divorce’ payment, the regulatory annexation of Northern Ireland, and ongoing control of British trade policy even after Brexit.

I think the EU’s plan was to offer such a bad deal that we wouldn’t risk leaving at all. In this they underestimate our resolve; we will not be cornered or frightened. No Deal will be difficult, but doable – and the disruption, while undoubted, would be temporary.

I am by nature a pragmatic politician. I do not hold entrenched views either side. I voted remain and I now think it’s my duty as a Parliamentarian to accept the result of the referendum.

Unfortunately, many of my colleagues across the house do not take this view. Rather than accept the verdict, they, along with officials, and cartel business leaders have set to work to overturn it.

But in the end Members of Parliament voted to allow a referendum on European Union membership. They also agreed to implement Article 50. They should not baulk at the outcome or continuously try to reverse the result.

-Sir Hugo Swire, East Devon MP.

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