Statement on recent Brexit votes, Friday 29 March 2019

Today, Parliament has voted against leaving the European Union with a short extension.

I share the frustration of many of my constituents that we are not leaving either with a deal or without a deal as promised on 29 March 2019.

I have consistently voted against taking ‘no deal’ off the table.

A number of MPs have undermined our date of leaving, a date that was enshrined in law through the text of Article 50.

For months now, these MPs have been trying to get Parliament to subvert the Government in choosing the Brexit outcome they want through indicative votes.

Most of these options, such as a permanent Customs Union, incidentally require the current deal to pass.

I have repeatedly made clear that I have concerns about the deal, particularly around the Northern Ireland backstop.

Yet we now face a significant delay to our departure date and the prospect of European Elections. There is even the possibility of no Brexit at all.

It is for this reason that I voted today – on the balance of risks and circumstance – for this slimmed down version of our divorce terms.

The future relationship on our economic, legal and trade relationship with the EU post-2020 is still up for negotiation for a future leader with new ideas following Theresa May stepping down as PM.

There is a tendency for us to be short sighted over Brexit.

I agree that we want it over with to focus on our domestic agenda, building on our strong foundation of record employment and rising real wages. Our environment, mental health, and social care are priorities I want this Government to tackle head on for East Devon.

Brexit was a springboard to deliver change. A better economy that serves consumers and takes on vested interests holding Britain back.

East Devon’s Independent candidate Claire Wright now says we should cancel Brexit altogether by simply revoking Article 50, having campaigned for over a year for a so-called People’s Vote. I find this profoundly wrong. The vast majority of Remainers and Leavers surely recognise that unilaterally revoking Article 50 is hardly democratic.

The Conservative Party made clear commitments in our 2017 General Election Manifesto regarding Brexit and it is upon that manifesto that I was elected, and in it are the promises I made at the time. As your Member of Parliament, I am elected to take decisions and keep my promises. Sometimes these decisions are not easy ones to take – but at all times I remain committed to doing what I believe to be in our country’s, and East Devon’s, best interests.

- Sir Hugo Swire, Member of Parliament for East Devon