LIAM FOX POSITION ON PROGROGATION AND NO DEAL 8/19

As you know, I campaigned and voted to leave the European Union in the referendum of 2016. Whichever way individual MPs voted themselves, however, I believe it is the duty of parliamentarians to deliver Brexit as they promised they would do when the referendum was called and when they were returned at the last election. Brexit is not simply a useful political tool for the ballot box, it is a contract with voters that must be honoured afterwards. Failure to honour the results of the referendum would be the most undemocratic act in our parliamentary history following as it did the explicit promise by Parliament that the voters decision would be implemented.

I voted to leave the European Union with a deal on three occasions in the House of Commons alongside 90% of the Conservative Parliamentary party, including, in the last vote, the current prime minister. I believe that leaving the EU with a fair deal which involves an element of compromise and adjustment makes sense. After 46 years of complex economic, political and legal integration it is only to be expected that some time will be needed to disentangle efficiently.

I believe that there is still time to reach a deal that is acceptable to both sides by 31 October and will use any influence I have to that effect. This will require a change in attitude by the opposition parties. I hope you will write to the leaders and MPs of the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats and the SNP who have consistently voted against leaving with a deal, thus making leaving without one more likely.

Finally, we now know that Parliament is to be prorogued with a new Queen’s speech under our new Prime Minister to be held on Oct 14th. This should surprise no one. Not only is it normal practice for a new Premier to set out a new Parliamentary programme but this current session has been the longest since the English Civil War. Despite the protests the fact is that the timetable is only a few days different from that already proposed to make room for the party conferences. I hope that the Prime Minister is able to come to an agreement with his EU colleagues that is acceptable to Parliament within this time and I hope that this timetable will concentrate the minds of MPs who previously voted against leaving with a deal. As I have already said, I believe that leaving with a fair and sensible agreement is the best way forward but if a deal cannot be agreed in Parliament then we will have to leave the EU without one which would be a pity but necessary to fulfil our democratic contract with the British people made in the referendum.

Thank you for taking the time to write/email on this most important issue for our democracy.