In response to the EU referendum result (June 2016)

Thank you for taking the time to contact me in the aftermath of the European Union referendum result. For all of us this was an enormous decision and the events that followed have prompted a passionate response from both sides of the debate.

As many of you know, I campaigned to stay within the European Union, a position I felt was in the best interest of both my constituency and my country. Whilst I am personally saddened at the outcome, it is my duty as your Member of Parliament to respect the democratic decision of St Edmundsbury, Suffolk and, indeed, the UK as a whole, to leave the European Union.

Now the decision has been made, my focus is to ensure we deliver the very best outcome for the nation. I understand there has been support for a second referendum. However this would disregard the democratic rights of 52% of the population and has been ruled out by the Prime Minister. Nevertheless, I will work to ensure that the priorities of the 48% of those who voted to remain with the European Union, are taken into consideration as we withdraw from our EU membership.

Recently, I asked a question in the House, seeking reassurance that expert advice would be sought from all areas of industry to assist the special unit that is being established to prepare for exit negotiations. I am determined that we will be ready for what will undoubtedly be robust discussions.

At present, there are challenges being made to the legality of the referendum vote in several areas including whether it should be regarded as 'advisory' and whether the proportion of the vote is adequate.

What is known is that the House of Commons and the House of Lords must vote to repeal the European Communities Act of 1972. However it is not clear at what stage in the exit procedure this will occur.Similarly we know that when Article 50 is triggered, a two year countdown is started to our departure from the European Union. However there are conflicting opinions on who may trigger this Article.

It would be foolish to fail to prepare for an exit and there are currently high level conversations taking place in order to best support those people where there is an interdependence, for example health care workers and those employed in agriculture. I am feeding in to these conversations wherever I can.

I appreciate completely how frustrating the current situation feels and how distressing the prospects of an exit from the EU are for many people. However, until the Government has started to outline the process that will be followed, my major role as an MP must be to offer solutions to potential challenges and to encourage collaborative working.

I must stress that there are no changes in people's present circumstances as to entitlement to remain in the United Kingdom at this current time. In his last Prime Minister's Questions the Rt Hon David Cameron MP suggested the government was, "working hard to guarantee the rights of EU citizens in this country. It is important to have reciprocity."

I fully understand that the Brexit decision has provoked uncertainty but I believe that my duty is to promote stability and progress and not indulge in speculation at this time. Above all, it is paramount that, as we embark on a new chapter in our history, we work collectively and positively to establish a new and better future for this country. We must ensure stability for both our society and the market place. This will be achieved by clarity of purpose, positive action and clear leadership.

I have always maintained that Britain, with the right support, can thrive no matter what.  It is now time for me, and all other MPs, to work hard in order to deliver this, in the long term interest of this great nation.

July 2016