My position on the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement

Tonight's vote on the Withdrawal Agreement is almost certainly the most important vote I will have participated in since becoming an MP since 2010. A huge number of constituents have contacted me to give me their views, for which I am incredibly grateful. I've read their arguments - which have spanned from leaving immediately without a deal, through to revoking Article 50 and remaining.

After extensive thought, and weeks of conversations with people from all sides, I have decided that I will be voting for the Withdrawal Agreement tonight.

The public were asked whether they wanted to remain in or leave the European Union in an historic referendum in 2016. They decided to leave. As someone who campaigned and voted to give the people a say in a referendum, I firmly believe we need to get on and deliver the referendum result and leave the EU. The Government has spent two years trying to implement the people's decision. Tonight's vote is the deciding moment.

The Prime Minister’s 585 page deal is an important step in carrying out Brexit. The Withdrawal Agreement is not perfect, and I have a number of continued reservations about the terms of the Backstop and its longevity. 

However, there are a number of MPs who have been trying to overturn the result of the referendum and keep us in the EU based on procedural tricks.

I have met with Chief Whip and sought assurances from Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for DEFRA, that farmers will be protected in any future free trade agreement. In addition, I have asked the Government to consider my amendments to the Agriculture Bill which outline my support for farmers. It is vital that as we leave the EU, our great British farmers know the Government are behind them, that they have certainty - and that they will remain competitive. I will accept nothing less.

It is for these reasons that I will be voting for the Withdrawal Agreement as I believe it is the best option available.