Speaking to the Harrogate Advertiser this week Conservative MPs Andrew Jones (Harrogate and Knaresborough) and Alec Shelbrooke (Elmet and Rothwell) have both said the plan was the ‘only deal which satisfied the result’ of the 2016 referendum, and would back the government when MPs vote on the Government’s terms for the withdrawal from the EU next Tuesday. Julian Smith, MP for Skipton and Ripon, who also serves as Chief Whip and Nigel Adams, MP for Selby and Ainsty, have also confirmed they will back Theresa May’s Plans.
Yorkshire Water's plans for decommissioning Harrogate reservoirMr Jones has said he does not expect all residents to agree with his decision, but the range of views on Brexit meant there was ‘no way to bridge the very wide gaps in public opinion.’ Highlighting the importance of trade in the UK’s future relationship with the EU, he said: “During the transition period we will be able to strike a comprehensive free trade deal with the European Union. We will also be able to negotiate free trade deals across the world ready to implement at the end of the transition period due in December 2020. The transition period can be extended if we wish to do so but it can only be extended once. It cannot be used as a way to keep us in the EU’s customs union indefinitely as some claim. It cannot be used to subvert the outcome of the 2016 referendum.
“There are many other elements to the deal of course but this, for me, is a key consideration. With the ability to negotiate and then conclude trade deals across the world we give our businesses the best chance of prospering. And it is our businesses who employ people and provide the taxation which funds our public services. That is why this is so important to me.“So, it is my intention to back the deal we have negotiated knowing full well that no-one has got everything they wanted. Some constituents will agree with this and some will not but I hope you respect the fact that - given the views I have been receiving - there is no way to bridge the very wide gaps in public opinion.”Mr Shelbrooke said that the deal delivers ‘on the vast majority of what people voted for and would also protect the economy.’
He said: “I am voting with the government, as I genuinely believe it’s the only way forward. It satisfies the vast majority of the reasons that people voted to leave, it ends the free movement of people, vast sums of money being paid to the EU and at the same time it goes a long way to address concerns that Remain voters have over the economy crashing, as it allows us to create a new trade deal whilst trading under current terms. At the end of that we will be out the EU, We will have a fresh trade deal, and it honours the referendum while protecting the economy.”
Both have said they would not back calls for a second referendum on the decision to leave the EU, believing that it would not help address divisions over Brexit.Mr Shelbrooke said: “I don’t agree with it, there is nothing in a second referendum which can bring the country together and still presents the same problems at the end. I am equally opposed to reversing the decision as I don’t think any international business would have confidence to invest in this country if the decision was reversed as they would simply ask how long it was until it was reversed again. What we need is a long term trade deal.”
A move to overturn a decision over remaining in the EU would not ‘be in the least democratic,’ added Mr Jones, who voted to remain in 2016.“Were the proposal to be a referendum between the deal and no deal I could see some logic to that argument although it is not one I would support. We need to move on from the divisions between Remain and Leave and get on with being implementers of the decision.”