WESTMINSTER DIARY: We have to put Brexit back to the people

With Matt Rodda, MP for Reading East

At this crucial time, we have to find a way through the Brexit impasse.

I am pleased that Theresa May invited Jeremy Corbyn to discuss a way forward and I hope that the Government will now compromise, develop an alternative soft Brexit approach and then put this back to the people in a confirmatory referendum, with remain on the ballot paper as an alternative to a soft Brexit.

If this were to happen, I would support remain.

It would have been much better for the country if the Government had tried to compromise earlier. Instead the Prime Minister has tried to push her deeply flawed withdrawal agreement on unwilling MPs and she has failed three times to win a majority in Parliament.

I’m afraid that we have had months of delay, with the Government kicking the can down the road, putting off the inevitable, delaying reality and trying to pretend that their shabby deal was the only way of resolving Brexit.

This has taken place even though the proposed deal would have resolved only the withdrawal agreement with the EU and, indeed, it offered only 22 pages of non-legally binding text to outline the whole of our future relationship with the EU. In other words, it set up several years – possibly six or even 10 years – of further botched negotiations,
when the UK would have been in a very weak negotiating position.

Given the weakness of the Prime Minister’s deal, it was not surprising that it was rejected by both ardent leavers and those with deep concerns about Brexit. I sincerely hope that we have now moved on beyond the charade of this Government trying to put the same deal back to Parliament again and again.

That is why I support Parliament trying to take control of this process. In a parliamentary democracy, when a Government lose the goodwill and support of a majority in Parliament, they should rethink their approach.
And, why I am pleased that negotiations between parties are underway.

It is my sincere hope and belief that we have a real opportunity to break this dreadful impasse. It is now incumbent on the Government to listen to MPs and the millions of people who marched in London.

I am urging Ministers to listen and consider the very real merits of thinking again. It is time for a sensible soft Brexit option to be drawn up and for this to be put back to the people in a confirmatory referendum.

We have to put this serious matter back to the people, and the Government have to fundamentally rethink their approach.

Matt Rodda is the MP for Reading East.

Next week: Dr Phillip Lee MP for Bracknell

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