The moment of decision is approaching. In a few short weeks MPs will vote on the draft Withdrawal Agreement and outline political declaration on our future relationship with the EU.
In these difficult times for our country, I have always said that we need to prioritise the economy and the jobs of my constituents. This deal has been welcomed by the Governor of the Bank of England and the leadership of Rolls-Royce, Airbus, Siemens, the British Pharmaceutical Industry and UK Hospitality. The Biotech Industry Association has noted positively the “detail on people, goods on the market, medicines regulation" and the Chief Executive of BAe Systems, which employs people in Cheltenham, has praised the “pathway to frictionless trade”. The Confederation of British Industry states that it avoids the “wrecking ball” of no deal, and adds that it would be “foolish” for Parliament to vote it down.
Under its terms British nationals would be able to move freely in the EU without a visa for travel or business, and the rights of nearly one million UK citizens in the EU and three million EU citizens in the UK would be protected. The relative stability would benefit the nation’s finances too, providing the financial platform for the Government’s decision to hike NHS spending from £122 billion a year today to £149 billion a year in 2023.
Meanwhile, those who want to destroy this deal disagree among themselves about what should replace it. Some want a ‘no deal' Brexit, causing Britain to crash out in March. Others want a general election leading to Jeremy Corbyn becoming Prime Minister. A third group want a second referendum to reverse the result of the 2016 vote.
Those conflicting agendas mean that rejecting this deal starts a giant game of roulette with our economy and democracy. The better choice for our country is a pragmatic deal which backs jobs and livelihoods and rejects calls from the extremes.
That is the territory upon which moderates must choose to fight.