Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Why I'm backing the Brexit Deal

As MP’s, when we walk into the voting lobbies tonight, we face a clear and overriding choice. Do we, or do we not respect the result of the referendum? I will be voting for the deal, and I am certain it is the right thing to do.

In 2016, I helped lead the campaign to Remain across Northumberland, and across the North East. We were defeated. I am a democrat. The people have spoken. Delivering on the referendum result is the right thing to do and I do not support a second referendum.

I know that many have called this deal a compromise – and it is. But it is a compromise that takes back control of our borders, our money and our laws.  

Prime Minister Theresa May has won some important changes since the previous vote. This reduces the risk that the EU could deliberately keep us trapped in the backstop indefinitely, and works to replace the backstop with alternative arrangements by 2020.

This deal delivers what we voted for: It takes back control of our laws, our borders, our money, and control of our trade policy. By backing this improved deal on offer today, we can move on to all the other issues we want to take action on, like continuing to improve our NHS and schools, reducing crime and protecting our environment.

I have addressed the issues that arise in respect of this vote in the 14 minute video interview with my good friend and neighbour Rory Stewart MP, on all aspects of the withdrawal agreement, a second referendum, the backstop and our future relationship with the EU here: guyopperman.co.uk/brexit

I do not believe it is the right thing to have a second referendum. Nor do I believe there is any majority in either the government party, or the Labour Party to vote for such an outcome. It would be fraught with difficulty, and would be denying the biggest vote in our country’s history. It would be an affront to democracy. No second referendum would be able to take place for at least 6 months, maybe over a year, with the potential for numerous options on the ballot paper. I do not support that approach, and nor do the majority of my fellow parliamentarians in the two main political parties. I accept it is a policy supported by the SNP, Liberal Democrats and Green Party. 

If we back the improved Brexit deal on offer, we will leave the European Union on March 29th – in just over two weeks - on agreed terms that gives us the best possible start in our new relationship with the EU and the rest of the world.


The House of Commons debated the issue of a second referendum on Thursday March 14. The proposal for a Second Referendum was rejected by the House of Commons by 334 to 84. It was not supported by the government or the Labour Party.
It remains my view that a negotiated withdrawal agreement is the best way forward. I continue to work with MP colleagues across the House of Commons and, in particular, with MPs from the Conservative and Labour Party to agree a negotiated deal.