At this crucial time in the Brexit process I wanted to update you on what has been happening. I have received many emails organised by campaign groups on the Indicative Votes Parliament had on Wednesday, as well as other individual emails on specific aspects of Brexit.
In the votes I voted against a Second Referendum, which I believe would certainly be divisive for the country, and very likely would not be decisive. I also voted against revoking Article 50, because although I campaigned for Remain I respect the result of the Referendum and I think for Parliament to ignore it would be wrong.
Of the various options for different types of Brexit on offer, I voted against the Common Market 2.0 proposal, which I believe would keep us too closely tied to EU rules without any real prospect of influencing them. I voted for the EFTA proposal of my Leave-voting colleague George Eustice, because that would be a practical way forward, and for the proposal for a Customs Union, which again would be practical and negotiable.
You may have seen that none of the proposals received majority support, with the Customs Union coming closest.
I have twice voted to leave by voting for the Government’s Withdrawal Agreement. I think this would be better than the Customs Union, but so far the Government’s deal has not found a majority in the Commons, and I therefore think we may need a Plan B to enable a smooth and orderly Brexit, which will be better for business and jobs, and particularly better for Kent, than a No Deal Brexit.
If the Government brings its Withdrawal Agreement back I will again support it. I am glad that more of my Conservative MP colleagues are now backing it, and hope that this trend continues. It will allow us to fulfil our commitment to leave the EU.