From my daily briefing:
Tomorrow, the Prime Minister will trigger Article 50: delivering on the verdict of the British people to leave the European Union.
We stand on the threshold of a significant moment for Britain as we begin the negotiations that will lead us towards a new partnership with Europe.
The referendum vote last June was about something more than simply leaving the European Union. It was a vote for change: to make Britain stronger and fairer – restoring national self-determination while becoming even more global and outward looking in action and spirit. And while it was a vote to leave the EU, it was not a vote to leave Europe – we want to continue to be reliable partners, willing allies and close friends with European countries.
So in that spirit, we are not seeking partial membership of the EU, associate membership, or anything that leaves us half-in, half-out. We do not seek to adopt a model already enjoyed by other countries or hold on to bits of membership as we leave. We seek a new and equal partnership – between an independent, self-governing, Global Britain and our friends and allies in the EU. It remains firmly in Britain’s national interest that the EU should succeed after we have left.
On the About page of this website, it has said since 26 October 2009,
I am in politics to re-establish a working system of Parliamentary democracy, to foster peaceful relations between communities and to preserve and extend our social and material prosperity through sound economics.
In pursuit of those ends, I have always believed we would need to either fundamentally reform or leave the European Union. I have given my reasons in blog posts on the EU stretching back almost ten years.
As I said in the Commons,
I consider myself blessed indeed that the Wycombe district voted remain. I say “blessed indeed” because, although my constituency covers only three fifths of the District, I am well aware that, given the position that I have held with my colleagues and the work that I am now doing, if I did not have that constant reminder that we must serve 100% of this country, it would be easy to be too “hard over” on the issues. We must listen to everyone and take account of their concerns, but we must also see through what is in the best interests of this country, and I believe that that is the complete fulfilment of the 12-point plan set out by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister.
I therefore approach tomorrow not in a spirit of joy or celebration, despite having helped achieve the goal which brought me into Parliament but nevertheless with buoyancy and hope, convinced we are taking our country in the right direction. There can be no gloating or complacency: I am deeply conscious of the profound importance of the next two years to the UK, Europe and the world.
I wish Godspeed to the Prime Minister and her team throughout this period in all they think, say and do.
In the course of working through my correspondence today, I revisited Jean Claude Juncker’s 2016 “State of the Union” speech. He said:
I am not going to stand here today and tell you that everything is now fine.
It is not.
Let us all be very honest in our diagnosis.
Our European Union is, at least in part, in an existential crisis.
I regret that the EU is in an “existential crisis” but let us not lament leaving the EU as if we were leaving the Garden of Eden. Our future will be brighter for being in our own control.