Justin Tomlinson, Conservative MP for North Swindon, has released the following statement following a rollercoaster week in Parliament - with key votes taking place on the Brexit issue:
"It is unsurprising that trust in politicians is at a low point. Since the UK voted to Leave the European Union in 2016, there have been Members of Parliament from both sides of the debate who have frustrated, delayed and attempted to block Brexit.
Remain MPs who have not accepted the decision have voted consistently against the progress of Brexit through Parliament; and on Tuesday evening, ERG Brexiteers voted against delivering a Brexit deal that would have seen us take back control of our laws, money & borders, as well as leave the Customs Union & Single Market at the end of the transition period.
Ironically those MPs who want to reverse Brexit merrily joined forces with those who refuse to accept a sensible & orderly Brexit deal.
I voted to Leave in the referendum campaign. As the MP for a constituency which also voted Leave, I have respected this decision at every single opportunity in the House of Commons by voting for Brexit.
It has always been my position that we need to leave the European Union in a sensible and orderly way with a deal. Throughout the referendum, the Leave campaign themselves said that they would have to agree a deal in order to leave the EU.
I still believe that the Prime Minister’s deal delivers on the referendum result (for the reasons given above) whilst remaining close allies with the European Union on a variety of issues including security and trade. The transition period in the deal would also allow businesses, including those here in Swindon which create thousands of local jobs, to adjust. This is crucial.
It won’t be perfect for everybody but in these situations it is absolutely essential for the sake of the country for both sides to dig themselves out of their respective trenches and compromise to break the deadlock.
This week there have been a number of votes including on some complex amendments. On Tuesday, I voted to deliver Brexit.
On Wednesday, I voted against taking No Deal off the table. As a former business owner, I understand that you cannot take your strongest negotiating hand off the table – regardless of whether you intend to use it or not.
However I also understand that businesses need more than 15 days to adjust and make the necessary arrangements – whether that be to prepare for a deal or no deal. Having had numerous meetings with businesses of all sizes in Swindon, I know just how important it is to have an orderly process rather than a cliff-edge. I cannot ignore the views of local job creators who want transition time; which is why on Thursday, I voted for a small delay to Article 50 (on the provision that it will allow more legislative time for the deal to pass).
To be clear, I do not want an indefinite delay. Which is why I also voted to keep No Deal on the table. But if a short amount of time is required in order to reach a deal that a majority can agree on, then that is sensible and pragmatic. By voting for a small delay to Article 50, yet keeping no deal on the table to focus minds, I want to ensure that we do actually leave whilst protecting businesses. This means we can deliver the will of the public, whilst not forcing businesses into a situation in which they are not prepared for in two weeks’ time.
I am, and have always been, fully committed in delivering Brexit. If we do not deliver that, then trust in our politics will plummet and the public will rightly ask why they should ever bother to vote again. MPs from both sides of the debate, with equally strongly held views, need to be willing to compromise for the sake of the public and businesses.
I will continue to vote to deliver Brexit in the only way that is possible - through a sensible and orderly way that allows businesses the crucial time to adjust. Next week will be the final chance for common sense to prevail.
To read South Swindon MP Robert Buckland's statement regarding the week of key votes click here.