Statement on Brexit
April 1st 2019
I share the sense of dismay felt by all of those who believe that we should have left the European Union on March 29th.
Having voted three times in support of a Withdrawal Agreement that would have achieved that deadline I cannot help but note that a small number of Conservative MPs and all but five of the Labour and other Opposition parties, including the DUP, have voted to frustrate that objective. That may result either in the UK crashing out of the EU on April 12th with no organised exit route, a prolonged extension to the time limit and participation in European Elections that we do not want or possibly a breach of faith in the referendum result and no Brexit at all.
I do not believe that `No Deal` is a responsible answer to our situation. Even with No Deal we would still have to negotiate, under adverse terms, a trade and relationship with the rest of the EU and we would still have to pay large sums of taxpayers` money for the foreseeable future. It does not offer the `clean break` that some have sought to claim.
I do not believe that a `People`s Vote` or `Second Referendum` is either practicable or desirable. The people have already voted and we must honour that result; a further referendum would cause still more delay and uncertainty, would be acrimonious and divisive and is likely to end up with either the same result or a mirror-image of the result with no more consensus than before.
The last thing that a United Kingdom needs in turmoil is a General Election or a change of Leadership: we have a job of work to do and we must get on with it and deliver what a majority of the British people voted for. Anything less will be a self-indulgent distraction.
None of the alternatives suggested by the `indicative votes` offer a Brexit in anything other than name; all would leave the UK paying as rule-takers without a voice and represent worse alternatives to full membership of the EU in which we are at least, at present, heard.
I shall therefore oppose all of the alternative proposals while there is still the chance that common sense may prevail, the Withdrawal Agreement may be accepted and the necessary legislation passed to allow us to move forward to an orderly Brexit that satisfies most of our objectives and does not damage our economy or our security.
Sir Roger Gale MP
30th March 2019.