EU Referendum

The House of Commons Library, which provides impartial information to Members in support of their duties, maintains a Brexit hub on its website which publishes the latest information on the issue. You can view it here:

https://www.parliament.uk/brexit

Update 16 January 2019

Last night Parliament voted against the Prime Minister’s EU Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration, that set out our future relationship with the EU. Today, the PM made a short statement in the House on the next steps the Government will take to try and build a consensus in Parliament for a negotiated exit of the EU. 

It is vitally important that we deliver our manifesto commitment from the recent General Election that clearly stated that we would leave the EU and secure a “new, deep and special relationship”. The manifesto did not say we would exit Brexit or leave without a deal.

The PM is working at pace with colleagues, including from opposition political parties to try and build a consensus for a positive way forward, that delivers that manifesto commitment. Labour MPs were also elected to deliver Brexit with a negotiated deal so there is more that unites than divides us.

I understand that the continued uncertainty is very worrying for many local people. It’s important to remember that all EU citizens in the U.K. have their right to be here protected, even in the event of a no deal Brexit. EU citizens working and living here make an important contribution to our community.

Update 14 January 2019

Tomorrow I will be voting for the EU withdrawal agreement and the political declaration, together they are often referred to as the ‘deal’. I will not support a ‘no deal’ Brexit.

Update 10 January 2019

The Parliament I returned to on Monday is almost as divided as it was before Christmas. It is still divided into several factions; those who support Mrs May’s EU deal and those who oppose it, those who want a general election and those who want a second referendum. No one has come up with a better deal – including “no deal” – that commands more support than that of the Prime Minister. These same divisions exist across our nation, in our communities and in our homes. 

I have received around one thousand letters and emails from constituents passionately expressing their views one way or another, with each appealing to me to do the ‘right thing’ by representing their position in Parliament. It is my job to listen to the arguments and then carefully draw my own conclusions.  

There is no doubt that the vast majority of people are very supportive of the Prime Minister, and rightly so in my view. I agree that her deal is not perfect, but it does offer a compromise which I can support and I would urge others to do so too. As I have said before, this deal will give us free, no tariff, unlimited quota trade with the EU, minimal or zero frictions at the borders, complete control over immigration and would avoid a “hard border” between North Ireland and Ireland. There will be no payments to the EU and we will be out of the Common Agricultural and Fisheries Policies and there will be no customs union, so we will be free to strike trade agreements with nations outside the European Union. These key objectives, which are often referred to as the Prime Minister’s ‘red lines’, actually represent the promises made to British voters in the referendum campaign and at the most recent General Election. 

The much debated “backstop” in the EU Withdrawal Agreement, if used at all, would allow us continued, contribution free access to the EU whilst having total control over migration. This is why it is designed to be, and will prove to be temporary; for the first time ever, and contrary to the EU’s oft-repeated position of not splitting the ‘four freedoms’, they have done exactly that. Any suggestion that such an arrangement would, in effect, become permanent would cause an existential crisis within the EU. Their incentive not to use it, or to leave it quickly, would be at least as great as ours. 

If we do not support this deal, then anything could happen. This would have unknown and potentially untold consequences. The vast majority of local employers who have contacted me want certainty and do not want a “no deal” Brexit. 

There might also be a vote of no confidence in the present Government, which could result in a General Election, which Mr. Corbyn might win. For most, I do not need to explain the consequences of this for our economy, on investment and on jobs. 

I think it’s time to come together and support the deal. 

Update 20 November 2018

Last week was dominated by consideration of the proposed agreements with the European Union that set out how we will leave the EU in an orderly way and develop a new and close relationship – a relationship that is based on our shared values, mutual security and economic prosperity.

The negotiations are still not complete and the final proposed agreements will be presented to Parliament later this month for further and thorough debate. We will then vote on the agreements.

I have read and considered all the documentation and listened to the debate in the Commons. I believe that what the Prime Minister has agreed with the EU has delivered on what the referendum mandated: we will be leaving the EU in March next year, the right to free movement will end, we will take back control of our laws and we will be leaving the single market. We will become an independent coastal nation.

I know that fervent Brexiteers, and those who do not want to leave the EU, will say that some of these things aren’t delivered instantly and that there remains some uncertainty on others. Some will protest that we will have to follow EU rules on goods.  And they will be right.

But, crucially, the deal also delivers continued near friction free access to the EU markets which guarantees so many jobs and livelihoods here and all over the UK. We will be able to continue to participate in Europol and EuroJust and other mutually beneficial programmes that are so important for our security, universities and jobs. While it is perfectly logical to reject this “deal” because of the compromises it makes, I won’t be doing that.

This “deal” delivers Brexit in a humane and considered way and fulfils the objectives the PM outlined at the start of the process and which were agreed by Parliament. It has been welcomed by important organisations such as those representing business and industry as well as the NFU. I hope that Parliament will pass the final version of the “deal”. I will continue to support the PM to do so. We can then move on.

The really hard work of implementing the “deal” will then begin. It will take considerable focus and effort to implement it well over the next few years.

At the same time we will all need to spend more time in addressing the divisions in our society that came into sharp focus during the referendum campaign – divisions, often based on ignorance and fear, that are being manipulated by politicians and public figures with far left or right wing political ideology.

Their simplistic, popular remedies for our current problems often conceal their underlying ideology.  Fascism and socialism, with all the suffering that it brings, is not dead despite the battles fought in the last century and the manifest suffering of people subjected to socialism now in countries like Venezuela.

Now is the time for people who believe in our values of freedom, tolerance and compassion to stand up for them.

Update 15 November 2018

Last night I read the Government’s proposed agreements with the European Union that set out how we will leave the EU in an orderly way and develop a new and close relationship. A relationship that is based on our shared values, mutual security and economic prosperity. 

The negotiations are still not complete and the final proposed agreements will be presented to Parliament later this month for further and thorough debate. We will then vote on the final drafts of the agreements. 

Today, I listened carefully to the debate in the Commons. I believe that what the Prime Minister has agreed with the EU has delivered on what the referendum mandated: we will be leaving the EU in March next year, the right to free movement will end, we will take back control of our laws, and we will be leaving the Single Market. We will become an independent coastal nation.

Now I know that some Brexiteers and those who do not want to leave the EU will say that some of these things aren’t delivered instantly and that there remains some uncertainty on others. Some will protest that we will have to follow EU rules on goods.

And they will be right.

But crucially the deal also delivers continued, near friction free access to the EU markets which guarantees so many jobs and livelihoods here and all over the UK. We will be able to continue to participate in Europol and EuroJust and other mutually beneficial programmes that are so important to our universities, jobs and our economy.

While it is perfectly logical to reject this deal because of the compromises it makes, I won’t be doing so.

This deal delivers Brexit in a humane and considered way and fulfils the objectives the PM outlined at the start of the process and I hope that Parliament will pass it. I will continue to support the PM to do so.

Update 22 March 2018

As part of Brexit, the Government has launched a consultation paper on the future of food, farming and the environment and I want to make sure you have your views considered as part of this consultation. I will be meeting with local NFU members and farmers and want to hear your views too.

Passing on our precious natural environment in better condition than we found it to the next generation is a core Conservative value and aim of this Government. This consultation is a really important opportunity to shape future strategy and plans to deliver this aim.

Over the Eastertide, like many local people, I will be celebrating by bringing my family together for a meal of locally produced food. Despite the dreadful weather our farmers, food and drink producers have provided us all with an abundance of quality and choice.

Food is at the heart of every farming business and it is essential that Brexit should deliver opportunities for British food and farming. Agriculture accounts for over 70% of land use in the UK and food and farming provides 3.8 million jobs contributing £112 billion to the country’s economy.

When it comes to the food you eat, how much do you really know about the standards under which it is produced?  Red Tractor is the largest food standards scheme in the UK and ensures that the way food is farmed and prepared is checked against the highest of standards, covering animal welfare, food safety, traceability and environmental protection.

Food and drink bearing the Red Tractor logo has been produced responsibly to some of the most comprehensive and respected standards in the world and is regularly checked by independent experts from farm to pack.

All users of the logo have to keep comprehensive records of their Red Tractor products and are regularly inspected to ensure that this is happening. The flag in the Red Tractor logo tells you where your food has come from and that it has been farmed and prepared in the UK.

Red Tractor makes sure that everyone using the logo applies rigorous standards of food safety and hygiene to the way your food is produced – from farm to pack.

Red Tractor standards mean that animals have enough space, and safe and comfortable housing or shelter and unlimited access to fresh, clean drinking water and are provided with well balanced meals. All Red Tractor farmers have to keep a written health plan for their animals.

Farmers under the Red Tractor scheme must use responsible farming methods to minimise the risk of pollution. This means making sure that any pesticide and fertilisers that are used are stored safely and are applied correctly.

I would welcome your views on how we ensure that these high standards are maintained and enhanced and would value your opinions. I am also determined to see that the geographical designated food scheme that many of our local food producers benefit from, especially our Cornish Pasty makers and Fal Oyster fishermen continues post Brexit.

Update 30 June 2016

Last Thursday answered one question from which many more flow. Over the months ahead, as we reshape our relationships with European countries and the rest of the world, I will continue to do what is in the best interests of all the people I represent as well as our great country.

My immediate priority is to seek answers to the questions many local people have asked me. Their questions include - how will the promises made by the Brexiteers be delivered: replacing all the funding secured for Cornwall via the EU until 2020 and paying our farmers "at least as much as they get paid now"; improving the lot of our local fishermen & women and replacing the EU funding that our universities currently get for vital medical and other research. We currently get out more than we pay into EU research funds. And finally how will immigration be reduced without creating staff shortages, particularly in our local NHS.

The organisations representing the backbone of our local economy, small businesses, wanted to remain in the European Union as they understood the benefits. So I will be doing everything I can to ensure that our local small businesses can maintain fair access to the EU - the largest free market in the world.

At the same time, I will not be distracted from delivering the pledges I made when I was reelected just over a year ago - especially those concerning the most disadvantaged in our society - to improve their life chances.

Most importantly of all, I will be fighting for a tolerant and big hearted, united Great Britain. Now is the time for us all to come together. Together we have important work to do - to deliver the security and prosperity we all want to see for our family, our community and our nation.

Update 24 June 2016

Thank you to all the people who worked so hard on the Remain campaign in Cornwall. It was a pleasure working with so many people from different political parties and none on such a positive campaign.

While I am disappointed with the result, the people have spoken and I will be working together with my colleagues to ensure we negotiate the best possible relationship with the European Union. My immediate priority is to ensure that the funds Cornwall would have received from the EU, to enable investment in local people and businesses as well as vital infrastructure, are delivered by the UK government.

These are challenging times and I will continue to work hard for my constituents and for our great country. Being British feels different today and we will have to fight for the Britain we want to see.

Update 22 June 2016

How we vote really matters. It matters not just for us but for our children and grandchildren. Some of my older constituents have discussed their vote with the younger generation of their families and will vote according to their wishes. They know it's about their futures.

But it's about older people's futures too. We all want well-funded pensions and public services like the NHS and police. To raise the taxes to pay for vital public services we need a strong economy, with well paid jobs for local people. Small businesses in Cornwall have worked really hard through the recession to secure and create jobs here. All the credible, independent expert organisations on the economy, including the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce representing local businesses, say we are better off in the EU.

We are patriotic people who love our country and the emotive language of Leave - declaring UK Independence Day - is stirring stuff. Like you, I am worried about the huge challenges we face, including defending our hard won freedoms, controlling immigration, tackling climate change, building a strong economy and fair society for ourselves and our children.

As your local MP, my job is to do everything that I can to help people get on in life. It's clear to me that local families are better off in the EU and they can't afford the consequences of us leaving the EU.

Remember, as the EU changes, we all decide how. It is the British Parliament that decides if Turkey or another country joins the EU. You will decide, in automatic referendums, matters such as the UK joining the Euro or an EU Army.

We are Great Britain not little England. We must continue our important job of reforming the EU from within making our membership work for the UK.

Update 31 May 2016

Check out the EU facts using the BBC Fact Checker: 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-politics-eu-referendum-35603388

23 February 2016

While my vote in the Referendum on June 23rd has the same value as your vote, many people have asked me how I am going to vote and why. This is the first post that begins to answer those questions.

Last summer, when our son rowed for GB at the European Coupe de Jeunesse and the Union Jack was raised as we sung the National Anthem, I felt not only intensely proud of our son's personal achievement but also intense patriotism. I roared with the other British supporters urging our youngsters to beat those from across the European Union. 

When our family lived in Italy between 1998 and 2001, we experienced the benefits of the "free movement of labour" within the European Union.  Benefits shared by many thousands of British people.

Having also previously lived and worked in the USA, I understand how much I am shaped by where I come from and being British and proud to be British is at the core of who I am. So my decision is based on what I believe is best for Britain.

There is no doubt in my mind that the ruling elite of the European Union have become so detached that people are turning their backs in droves. The far right and left nationalist political parties with their hateful divisiveness and demagoguery eagerly exploit this. Daily images appear on our screens of European countries failing to deal with the current levels of migration are distressing. As an MP, I have seen first-hand many frustrating aspects of our membership of the European Union.

But I also think that we all too easily overlook the huge benefits for British people of having the opportunity to trade with and to work, live and study with ease in the largest market in the world. This is a market that shares broadly the same values as us and, like us, promotes freedom across the world. Do we really want to close down these opportunities for our children and grandchildren?

The founders of the European Union had an idealistic vision focusing on what united rather than divided the people who live in Europe. It was about preventing war by enabling economic and social and eventually political interdependence.  I don't believe that it was created to enable Germany to try and reopen the Second World War and achieve European domination by other means. On the contrary, I think the post-war Germans, encouraged by the French for obvious reasons, wanted to ensure German nationalism was checked. I doubt there is a country in the world that has taken such care to understand and learn from its history as Germany.

David Cameron's challenge to his peers in Europe is leading to some healthy soul searching about the future of the European Union. There is a group of European countries that have the political will to continue with the Euro and ever closer union and consequently will make decisions that will eventually lead them to resemble something like the United States of America. I also think that there will be member States who will be part of a looser European Union with mutual interests of trade and security at its core. I believe the interests of the British people are best served by being part of this kind of European Union. 

It is significant that David Cameron has won the argument that a member State can be part of the European Union without having to become a fully integrated member of a European Union moving towards a United States of Europe with a common currency. It has also been accepted that, having negotiated this special status, our vitally important industries will not be discriminated against.

If we leave, we will still be trading and working alongside the European Union but we wouldn't have a say about the rules. As our major allies and some of our most important trading partners have already warned, outside the European Union we would lose influence.

I hope people of all ages and walks of life will get involved with this question, the biggest we will be asked to decide on for a long time and one which will fundamentally affect our futures and the futures of generations to come.

I hope that the result of the referendum will be that we will remain in the European Union and that we will do so as a constructive, challenging, partner with renewed confidence in our ability to lead Europe on the massive challenges it faces - global migration, climate change, demographic change, sustainable economic growth, financial stability and threats to our liberty and way of life.

I also hope that our example will embolden those other member States who think as we do. The Prime Minister has negotiated a special status for the UK, but I don't think we are alone in our view as to the sort of European Union we want.

@ReformInEurope www.reformineurope.org #EUref #reformineurope