Derek's Column: Brexit

Bewildered, confused, puzzled, perplexed, baffled, stumped, mystified, stupefied, nonplussed, muddled and befuddled. I refer to reactions amongst the public to the parliamentary activity (or otherwise) regarding the Withdrawal Agreement. The main contention, which I share, is the existence of the backstop (Protocol in the agreement text). People voted to leave the EU in 2016 and 85% of voters voted again in 2017 for political parties that promised to honour the referendum result. The majority of MPs respected the will of the people and voted for Article 50 (the formal notification for leaving the EU). The backstop ties us in to aspects of the EU and holds back our ability to implement any new free trade deals. The Attorney General confirmed to me that, under this agreement, the backstop is inevitable and potentially indefinite. I was privileged to discuss these matters with those I represent throughout the day on Saturday at nine separate meetings across West Cornwall and I’m grateful to everyone who gave time to meet with me. As I travelled between Helston and Mullion I was informed by the Government of the intention to secure a binding vote for MPs on whether to trigger the backstop. This vote would take place mid-2020 as we come to the end of the transition period and when it will be much clearer how much progress has been made regarding the future trade agreement with our neighbours in the EU. I believe this would be enough to secure a majority vote in Parliament for the Withdrawal Agreement but this approach does need the approval of Brussels which hopefully explains why the PM felt the need to delay the vote until she secured a legally-binding vote on the backstop.

I regularly post comment and independent briefings on to my website under the heading Brexit Matters and a number of people have said how informative this content has been.