The vote on the Brexit Deal has now been delayed, and discussions with the EU will resume.
In reaching this decision, the Prime Minister has heard my concerns, and those of my colleagues, about the backstop – an indefinite insurance mechanism to be activated if no future relationship agreement with the EU is in place before the transition period ends – see my previous statement for more information on the backstop.
When active, the backstop will also maintain the jurisdiction of the ECJ in some areas, and this is simply unacceptable – a point that I raised with the Prime Minister yesterday.
So, to address those concerns, the Prime Minister will now attempt to secure further assurances from the EU that we will not be trapped in the backstop forever, should it be required.
Unfortunately, I do not believe that this will be enough to fully address my concerns, or those of my constituents – warm words and assurances are not the same as a cast iron guarantee that the backstop will not be needed.
My position, therefore, remains the same and I cannot support this deal, as it stands.
As I said in my speech last week, my support depends on the Government securing an absolute, legally binding, guarantee that an agreement on our future relationship will be in place before the transition period ends – this is the only way to negate the need for the backstop, and a deal during transition is doable.
This is also the only way to ensure that we are, in good time, free from the dominion of the EU, which is what the majority of my constituents want.