Our Man - Brexit

Regular readers will know that I almost always prefer to deal with local matters in this column, for obvious reasons. There are many outlets for discussion of national politics.

However this week it would be wrong to ignore Brexit, simply because it has been the overwhelming topic of local conversations I have had in recent days. In supermarkets, at the paper shop, on doorsteps, and in the street it is all anyone is talking about.

My own position is that I campaigned for Remain but respect the result and have consistently voted for the Withdrawal Agreement every time it has been before the Commons. I think it is a way of getting us out of the EU in a smooth and orderly fashion, which would be hugely preferable to a No Deal exit, which would be particularly risky for Kent.

If the deal can’t get through I would be in favour of one of the other types of Brexit on offer, which are less good but still fulfil the terms of the Referendum. I have voted against both a Second Referendum and revoking Article 50 altogether, because I think they would prolong the current anger and division in the country, which really worries me.

The number of emails I have had on the subject is unprecedented, and the content of them would disappoint those who like to tell me what everyone in Ashford thinks about Brexit. Every shade of view is well represented, from stopping Brexit altogether (which is the majority view from the emails, though the opposite of what happened in the Referendum) to leaving with No Deal.

As for those who say many people have changed their mind since 2016, a sample of 100 Conservative members at the Annual General Meeting on Friday saw more changing from Remain to Leave than the other way round. I will continue to look for an acceptable compromise, that will allow us all to move on to something else.