FURTHER STATEMENT ON BREXIT

Following his previous statement on Brexit (18th October 2019), and ahead of debates on the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, Giles said:

"It is, of course, incredibly frustrating that, following the votes in Parliament last night, the progress of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) has now stalled. This piece of legislation, when passed, will implement and approve the Prime Minister’s new deal, and, therefore, offers a way forward. That is why I supported the WAB last night, and I am pleased that it passed Second Reading with a majority of 30 – I even stood by the Whips to count the votes myself! Although that feeling of elation was short lived, and I was shocked that the subsequent vote on the Program Motion, which sets the timetable for debating the Bill, was lost by 14.

"Consequently, the WAB is unlikely to make further progress and the necessary legislation will not be in place to facilitate our exit on 31st October 2019. So, by voting to frustrate the passage of the WAB, even after the House had approved the deal, Labour and other opposition parties have, once again, chosen delay.

"In terms of next steps, the European Union are now expected to offer an extension to Article 50. This offer must be accepted by the Prime Minister, as set out in the Benn Act. This means that a no deal outcome is unlikely, but, as I have said before, I am not required to support an extension and will not vote for it – I did not vote to extend in March, and I will not vote to extend now.

"Following the extension, and if the WAB resumes its progress through the House, I will continue to support it. Importantly, this legislation will also be amendable and, as we consider any amendments to the WAB, I will remain true to the pledges I was elected upon, and the promises I have made to constituents since.

"Therefore:

  • I will vote to keep the no deal option on the table;
  • I will vote against any extension to the Article 50 process;
  • I vote against any second referendum amendment that may be attached to the WAB;
  • I will vote against a customs union amendment that may be attached to the WAB;
  • I voted against the ‘Letwin Amendment’, which was designed to frustrate our exit.

"The results of my recent Brexit Survey demonstrate that the majority of constituents want me to vote in this way, so that is what I will do. I have always voted to respect the wishes of residents. And I hope that we will formally begin the process of leaving on the 31st October 2019, as this remains the date when we are scheduled to enter the transition period. But I appreciate that there is now a majority in Parliament determined to frustrate our exit on that date. Again, this is disappointing.

"Personally, I am proud to have represented my local area in Parliament at this historic time, and this new deal delivers on the wishes of the majority in a way that, I believe, should be welcomed by the most ardent of leavers, and even those who voted to remain. And, for the sake of the country and businesses, we must now move on, pass this deal, and get Brexit done. I hope all colleagues will bear that in mind in the coming days.

"It is time to focus on delivering an exciting domestic agenda, built on the foundations of a strong economy that will deliver: more police officers, more funding for our schools and hospitals, and truly world-class infrastructure. And, of course, a domestic agenda that no longer overlooks places like the Clacton constituency, as has so often been the case in the past. In fact, I have today made a supplication to the Treasury, ahead of the Budget, to request a significant increase in funding to our coastal communities.

"That is what I will be voting for in the coming days: to respect the result of the referendum and to deliver the outcome that the majority of constituents clearly want. And to do so as soon as possible, so we can move on to consider other equally important issues."