Brexit and Article 50

Thank you for writing to me with regards to Brexit and the vote to trigger Article 50.

The vote to agree the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill and to trigger Article 50 has, without doubt, been the biggest decision of the twenty first century, for the whole of the UK.

However, for me, whilst the decision has been challenging, the result was clear. The majority of people in my Bury St Edmunds constituency, the county of Suffolk and our country, voted to leave the EU. Whilst I have received much correspondence urging that I voted against the triggering of Article 50, Parliament called for the EU referendum as MPs felt the decision should be taken by the people. It is therefore not for Parliament to re-run the result of the EU referendum and yesterday, I voted to trigger Article 50.

To assist in providing Parliament with the vote, the Government delivered further indications as to whether our course for Brexit is right for the UK. These included the White Paper, an assurance to prioritise securing the status of EU citizens in the UK once Article 50 has been triggered, and an agreement to allow Parliament an opportunity to debate and vote on this issue. With these concessions, and with this much vaunted sovereignty, it is right that Parliament will, going forward, scrutinise these measures to ensure our deal is the best it can be.

As you may be aware, I campaigned to ‘Remain’ for I felt the UK would be better off in a reformed EU. Whilst it is right to accept the outcome of the referendum, I see my role is to be a ‘critical friend’ to our negotiations with the EU. In particular, I want to ensure we deliver assurances for businesses and workers, especially those within our health, education and agricultural sectors. With this, it is my priority to champion, in particular, our science and innovation sectors as well as being mindful of the need for transitional arrangements, or indeed short term protections for sectors that may come under pressure. My efforts are fully behind making this process a success and ensuring our values of tolerance, respect and hard work reap their just rewards.

However, there is still much that needs to be considered before we trigger Article 50 and ultimately leave the EU. In delivering a Brexit that works for everyone, we must be sure we do not, at the same time, fail to deliver any outcomes for the UK altogether. Ultimately, whatever decisions we take must deliver in the interests of, and work to unite our great country. Therefore however you voted, and whatever your position, the need to work together starts now as we Brexit, and not just when we Brexit.