Delivering On The Referendum

The result of Tuesday's vote in the Commons was obviously very disappointing; the Prime Minister has worked incredibly hard over two and a half years to negotiate a deal that delivers on the referendum, including taking back control of our money, borders and laws, and gives us freedom over our agriculture, fisheries and trade, while at the same time protecting jobs, our economy and our security partnerships.

That night, we saw many MPs expressing very real concerns with the proposed deal. However, having talked to lots of colleagues in the last few days, it is quite clear to me that there are particular parts of the deal that they don't like, and the discussions I have had suggest that with some specific changes it could be supported.

So, as the Prime Minister has said, she will be talking to senior parliamentarians right across the House, including on the Conservative benches, to listen to the elements that they are concerned about and to understand exactly what would enable them to support the Government. After speaking to MPs who have constructive ideas that will help us get over the line, she will be looking to go back to the EU. It is clear to me that we should all seek to avoid a "No Deal" Brexit, which would be damaging to our economies, at least in the short term.

I was delighted that the Government won the motion of confidence last night, but some on the Labour frontbench are continuing their unconstructive approach to Brexit, and what I would say to them is that Jeremy Corbyn has had two and a half years to set out his alternative to the PM’s plan.

Jeremy Corbyn has said that he supports free movement but also says he wants to support the will of the people; he says that he wants a customs union but he also wants to have an international free trading policy; and what he won't say is whether he supports a second referendum or not. His views don’t make any sense.

Parliamentarians need to look very carefully at constructive and negotiable ways forward. The public voted two and a half years ago to leave the EU, and voters want to see us delivering on the result of that People's Vote in June 2016. They want certainty, and that is not going to be provided by Jeremy Corbyn.

I absolutely understand that people have deep and substantial concerns over the way forward, and that this continuing uncertainty is unwelcome to many, including EU citizens who have made their home here, to UK citizens who live in the EU, to businesses, and to people who are worried about their jobs. That is why we are doing everything we can to make sure we make progress, reach a conclusion, and then move on.

Once we get through to the other side of March, that world of opportunity presented through leaving the EU - the future trading relationships with the rest of the world and maximising all of the incredible innovations the UK has to offer - will be available to us and we mustn't lose sight of that. We will not be extending Article 50, and it is absolutely vital that Parliament doesn't renege on the promise it made to the people when we voted to enact it.

So, the PM remains committed, as do I, on delivering on Brexit on the 29th March 2019.