Embracing a new European Settlement

In the House with Huw Merriman SUS-151007-132058001
In the House with Huw Merriman SUS-151007-132058001

Much has happened in the fortnight since my last column. The nation has voted to withdraw from the EU and our Prime Minister has resigned along with most of the opposition front-bench. Constituents could be feeling let down but we are the fifth largest economy in the world, and have created over 2 million jobs since the dark days of 2010, so I feel optimistic that the UK can ultimately thrive whatever the circumstances.

I voted for the UK to remain a member of the EU. I was disappointed with the result but, as I made clear in a speech in the House of Commons, a referendum is determined by the majority of the people who voted and it must be abided by. It was made clear in our manifesto in 2015 that we would hold a referendum and that accepting the majority decision would be the outcome. Many have asked me for another referendum but we cannot keep having one until the minority becomes the majority, nor can we ignore the result on the basis that some people may have now changed their mind or feely they have been duped. On the ballot paper, it asked if constituents wanted to leave the EU, not for their reasons why.

My efforts, as your MP, are now focussed on getting the best deal for the UK, and ensuring that the principles which have given us the freedom to work, study and trade in the EU have the best chance of continuing following our departure from the EU. This is going to require leadership, experience and a cool-head. It is for this reason that I have cast my vote for Theresa May to be our next Prime Minister. I might also add that it would be good to go back to the days when it was a positive to have a Prime Minister who has previously built up so much experience over a long period in Government.

I am really sorry that the Prime Minister is standing down, and we have gone from a position of stability to uncertainty. Parliament has not covered itself in glory over the last week. I am serving on the bill committee which turns the 2016 Budget in to law. We had to suspend a sitting at 3.30pm because the Labour spokesperson opposing the bill stood up on a point of order and announced he could not continue as he was resigning forthwith and not returning until Jeremy Corbyn quit. On our side, we have MPs running around Parliament like excited juveniles trying to get in on the election of a new student union rep. I am determined to keep my head, speak positively and optimistically of better times to come and do whatever I can to make that happen.