In a letter in today’s Daily Telegraph, I’ve joined with 50 other Conservatives who campaigned for Leave to urge MPs in the European Research Group to vote for the PM’s revised Brexit deal, if and when it is brought back to the House of Commons.
The deal is far from perfect – it’s a compromise. It was always going to be a compromise, and Conservative colleagues in Parliament need to accept that fact and move on. If they don’t, they are putting at risk everything we campaigned for in the referendum.
We’re now getting on for three years since the people had their say – and it has been dispiritng beyond belief to see the collective loss of nerve in Parliament in that time.
A hard core of Remain MPs, who (whatever they say) have never come to terms with the fact that the people didn’t do as they were told on 23rd June 2016, have spent that time doing everything they can to undermine the UK’s negotiating position.
At the same time a minority of Leave MPs in the ERG have refused to budge an inch – creating the situation we are now in. One gets the sense that one or two have become all too comfortable in the limelight, and it’s now affecting their judgment.
Thrown into this mix of irreconcilable Remainers and Leavers who won’t take yes for an answer, is a deeply opportunistic Labour Party acting not in the national interest but their own, and a compromised Speaker acting to frustrate the government at every turn. The result is the deadlock we see day in, day out – and history will be damning of those who created it.
Meanwhile, beyond Westminster, the vast majority of people out in the country – whether they voted Leave or Remain – just want their politicians to get on with it. In a divided nation, this is one thing that unites a wide spectrum of people – and that’s why the PM’s deal can be the basis for bringing our country back together.
Here’s the full text of the letter:
SIR – We are current or former senior elected officers of the Conservative Party. We all either voted or actively campaigned for Britain to leave the EU. We accept that the Withdrawal Agreement is far from ideal. This is usually the case when deals are made between parties with widely differing aims. But we believe that it satisfies most of the demands of those who voted to leave the EU. It is also broadly acceptable to those who voted to stay but accept the majority view and want Britain to leave on managed terms. This is probably the best we can hope for, though there will be those on both sides who will never compromise.
We acknowledge the work done by many MPs, including those in the European Research Group, in holding the executive to account. The recent amendments to the Agreement would not have been achieved without their determination.
Prolonging Brexit – particularly if it required Britain to hold elections for the European Parliament – would be politically harmful to the Conservative Party and, more importantly, would erode trust in the democratic process. We therefore call on our parliamentary colleagues to find common ground if another meaningful vote can be held, and in doing so allow us to begin the process of healing our country, party, communities and friendships, which have been damaged by this matter. It’s time to move on.
Chairman, Chatham and Aylesford Conservative Association
Chairman, City of Chester Conservative Association
Cllr Owen Baldock
Tonbridge and Malling Conservative Association
South-West Regional Chairman Conservative Women’s Organisation
Regional Chairman, South West
Cllr Matt Boughton
Faversham & Mid-Kent Conservative Association
Aldridge-Brownhills Conservative Association
Deputy Chairman, Withenshawe & Sale East Conservative Association
Chairman, Surrey Young Conservatives
Cllr Oliver Cooper
Leader of the Conservative Group, London Borough of Camden
Cllr Paul Cooper
Deputy Chairman, Faversham & Mid Kent Conservative Association
Chairman, Mole Valley Conservative Association
Cllr Paul Dendle
Arundel Conservative Association
Cllr Julian Ellacott
Area Chairman, Surrey
Deputy Chairman, Stevenage Conservative Association
Political Communications Officer, Croydon Conservative Federation
Cllr Luke Graystone
Northampton Borough Council
Cllr Matt Hartley
Leader, Conservative Group, Royal Borough of Greenwich
Cllr Paul Hayes
Chairman, Wallasey Conservative Association
Deputy Chairman, Torridge & West Devon Conservative Association
Deputy Chairman, Tonbridge & Malling Conservative Association
Cllr Julie Iles
President, Conservative Women’s Organisation
Chatham & Aylesford Conservative Association
Cllr Ian Lewis
Leader of Conservative Group, Wirral Borough Council
Cllr Alan Jarrett
Leader of Conservative Group, Medway Unitary Council
Cllr Graham Lawrence
Vice Chairman, Stevenage Conservative Association
Cllr Diane Marsh
Chairman, Gravesham Conservative Association
Vice Chair, Conservative Science & Technology Forum
Cllr Joe Miller
Area Chairman, Sussex
Adrian Mitchell MBE
Former North-West Regional Chairman
Former Chairman, Maidstone & Weald Conservative Association
Chairman, Witley & Hambledon Conservatives
Chairman, Slough Conservative Association
Baroness Emma Pidding
Former Chairman, National Conservative Convention
Deputy Chairman, Witham Conservative Association
Chairman, Blackpool North and Cleveleys Conservative Association
Chairman, Kingston & Surbiton Conservative Association
Cllr Mike Rouse
Deputy Chairman, Redditch Conservative Association
Chairman, West Kent Group of Conservative Associations
Cllr Michele Scott
Deputy Chairman, Blackpool North & Cleveleys Conservative Association
Cllr Joe Simmons
Chairman, Tunbridge Wells Conservative Association
Deputy Chairman, Erith & Thamesmead Conservative Association
President of the National Conservative Convention
Director, Conservative Progress
Former Chairman, Canterbury Conservative Association
Former Chairman, South-East Cambridgeshire Conservative Association
Cllr Alison Swaddle
Area Chairman, Berkshire
Former Chairman, Rochester and Strood Conservative Association
Blackpool North and Cleveleys Conservative Association
Deputy Chairman, Epsom and Ewell Conservative Association