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Jonathan Djanogly backs PM’s Brexit deal and the timetable

22nd October 2019

Jonathan Djanogly speaks in the debate on the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill in support of the deal and the timetable and says that the only reasons to stall the timetable are to frustrate Brexit or to force a second referendum.

Mr Jonathan Djanogly (Huntingdon) (Con)

Along with most Members, I voted to trigger article 50. Since then, I have voted three times for the deals to leave that have been presented to this House. I intend to do the same again today. However, I think it would be fair to ​say that over the past three years I have not been blindly stumbling through the Lobbies. Given the importance of this issue and my access to information as a member of the Exiting the European Union Committee, I have critically reviewed each stage of the admittedly tortuous negotiations, in support of a withdrawal deal that I see as critical to supporting jobs and living standards for my constituents.

On the morning of the vote on the Benn Act, I was given the opportunity, with a number of other questioning colleagues, to meet the Prime Minister. I came away from that meeting persuaded of three things: first, that the Prime Minister wanted a deal; secondly, that he would provide adequate resource to get that deal; and thirdly, that the resultant legislation could be delivered by 31 October. In effect, I decided to put my trust in our Prime Minister. So far, against the expectations of many and in difficult circumstances, the Prime Minister has delivered on the first two items on my list. It would be wrong for us not to give him the chance to deliver on the third item by the end of this month. The timetable is ambitious but doable. Personally, if we needed a few more weeks into November, I would be totally supportive of pushing on, as for me, the important thing is the deal, not a date pulled out of the ether—originally by President Macron, by the way.

Parliament has been good at stopping Brexit proposals but bad at providing Brexit solutions. There are many arguments for delay, and I could be among the first to provide a list of issues with I have the terms of the deal, which is slightly less European-centric than the previous deal that was proposed. But at no point did the previous deal have the momentum to pass through the House, as this deal does. Let us be realistic: the chances of reopening the deal again are something less than remote. If anyone is going to vote against Second Reading, they should be honest and say that it is because they want a second referendum or to revoke the triggering of article 50.

Some Members have noted the lack of time to scrutinise the Bill, but given that most of the deal is the same as the previous version, this needs to be put in context. Other issues relate to the non-legally binding political declaration, so some suggest that extra provisions on trade should be inserted, but those debates can and will have to continue once we are in the transition period. They should not be used as the subject of wrecking amendments now. We should take the opportunity we have to sort out EU withdrawal, so that business knows where we stand and citizens know their rights. We can then move on to the important future relationship issues. The reality here and now is that we cannot know about or legislate for all the things that will undoubtedly need to be covered in our FTA with the EU.

Given all that, the main reason I see for delay now is, as I said, to frustrate Brexit or to force a second referendum, and I could not support those positions. That is even more true now that we have a deal. To my mind, we should settle this Bill and then move on to the FTA and start the difficult process of bringing British people back together post Brexit, reinforcing the bonds of our Union, and creating a new, strong and lasting friendship with the EU. Given the momentum towards being able to do that that I now see exists, the opportunity should not be squandered. The Bill and the timetable have my support.




I am not currently an MP, as Parliament has been dissolved until after the General Election on 12th December 2019. This website will not be updated during the election campaign and is for reference of my work when I was a Member of Parliament.


To contact me during the campaign please call my campaign office on 01480 453062 or email me on jonathan@jonathandjanogly.com or visit https://www.hcca.org.uk/ . You can also follow me on Twitter at @JDjanogly.



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