I have been clear since the outcome of the referendum was known that I would support the Prime Minister in seeking the best possible deal for the UK, which I have done. I also pledged that I would only support a deal I believed to be in the best interests of this constituency and our nation. This deal could see us locked in to an unending customs union with the EU with no legal mechanism for escape – a situation which cannot be viewed as leaving the EU or honouring the result of the referendum.
Neil suggests I should force a by-election here in Berwick-upon-Tweed. I disagree; I have not changed party, in fact I stood and was re-elected in 2017 on a Conservative manifesto which pledged to honour the result of the referendum and take back control of our money, our laws and our borders and to seek wide-ranging trade deals across the globe.
This deal does not allow us to keep that promise.
If accepted, the UK would remain under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (ECJ), sees us handing over a vast sum of money to the EU with no guarantee of a free-trade deal and allows any one of the 27 other EU member states to blackmail us into accepting poor terms by keeping us tied in the almost unheard-of situation of a treaty from which we cannot exit, which is exactly what President Macron has already pledged to do.
I entirely understand why President Macron would want to blackmail the UK in order to secure the best possible deal for French fishing fleets. What I cannot understand is why we won’t do the same for our own.
Those who have contacted me on this topic in the past will know that I have always argued for a strong, outward-looking United Kingdom post-Brexit. That it is not about shutting ourselves off, but removing the impediments that bind us from being a free-trading nation looking beyond Europe to our friends further afield.
My concerns about immigration have not been that we should pull up the drawbridge, but that the present system is unfair on those who try to come here from beyond Europe, that we are missing out on the skills they have to offer by being part of a protectionist bloc.
Continuing to penalise developing nations who wish to trade with us, because we are bound by the EU’s damaging tariffs is not forward-looking but restrictive and wrong. The fact the EU is so desperate to curtail the UK’s ability to flourish independently is certainly indicative of our potential. What is sad is our own Government’s determination not to realise it.
There have been some voices suggesting we sign up to this deal and simply renege on it at a later date. That would be wrong. This is a treaty under international law, and I firmly believe that if the UK signs up to a treaty it must be honoured.
The recent WW1 Centenary commemorations are a timely reminder that the UK will always honour its commitments under international law (the Treaty of London, 1915) even if it is at great cost to our nation, because we are honourable and to disregard the rule of law is dangerous and wrong. Therefore, I do not subscribe to the ‘sign it and see’ mentality. If it is a poor treaty – and it IS – we simply should not sign up to it.
I cannot vote for this deal, which sees us honour the referendum result in name only; sees the UK wilfully determined not to take advantage of the many incredible opportunities which await our businesses beyond our immediate shores; and binds us to the jurisdiction of the ECJ in perpetuity.
I will continue to work towards delivering the outcome of the referendum and honouring the commitments in the Conservative manifesto on which I was re-elected in 2017, to take us out of the EU in a way which enables us to become an independent nation once more, able to strike trade deals globally and truly take back control.
I am always happy to hear from constituents about their thoughts on the discussions, but it is simply impossible to do so via the noisy social media networks, so please do email me anytime on firstname.lastname@example.org
IF YOU WANT TO HEAR MORE FROM YOUR MP. . .
Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan will talk about her political career to the Bowsden Discussion Group tonight [30th November]at 7.30 in Lowick Village Hall and the MP promises to answer questions from the audience.