Brexit: MPs have the responsibility to end the deadlock and implement the referendum decision

At the end are my words in the parliamentary debate on the progress, or lack of it, as the Commons and the government try to implement the referendum decision that the UK will leave the European Union. We have the responsibility to end the deadlock.

Wednesday, 16th January 2019, 10:51 am
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 5:15 pm

Those who want to Remain united with Labour, SNP and the Lib Dems on Tuesday evening with those who have no interest in a negotiated withdrawal agreement, nor in transition arrangements that matter to business, nor in the future trade arrangements with the EU 27 and with the rest of the world.

I will continue to try to implement the referendum decision with the least possible damage to our interests.

Sir Peter Bottomley, MP for West Worthing
Sir Peter Bottomley, MP for West Worthing

Meanwhile, with my dedicated team in the constituency and at Westminster, I maintain the quiet undramatic work of reducing unnecessary disadvantage, distress and handicap, while trying to increase opportunities for prosperity, for self-development and for a better life for our families and others for whom we care.

The constant battles to protect residential leaseholders and people living in retirement housing go on.

With activist colleagues in each major party, I rely on the campaigning charity Leasehold Knowledge Partnership, commending their LKP website.

Their leaders, Martin Boyd and Sebastian O’Kelly, are the experts. The government-funded LEASE advisory service now has a new interim chair Wanda Goldwag.

We met her on Monday; our first impression is that she will do better than her two predecessors.

I do not understand where the housing ministers’ advisors get their insights into necessary action. A recent Statutory Instrument on recognising leaseholder associations creates more difficulties.

On retirement homes, government appears to have accepted the specious ground rent self-interest of developers, ignoring the experience and advice of Bob Bessell who charges no ground rent on his 1,600 units. He sensibly says that ground rents bring no gain to residents.

More cheerfully, on Wednesday evening I shall have joined West Sussex MPs with leaders of the University of Sussex.

It is over 50 years since I first visited friends and family who were there near the start with Professor Asa Briggs. The university was first proposed in 1911, 50 years before the granting of the Royal Charter.

Please note: on Friday, January 25, I will join councillors for a public advice session at the West Durrington Tesco. If you have a problem or an issue, please be in contact there or to save time ring or email at any time.

At 6.23pm on Tuesday, after listening to hours of EU debate, I spoke for a minute or two: “The UK is to leave the EU. That decision was taken two years ago. The question is whether we crash out or support the withdrawal agreement, to be followed by a period of transition and the future arrangements on trade and relationships.

“Assuming that we are not trying to reverse the referendum—I think there is no majority, either in the country or in the House, for that—the majority of us support the Prime Minister’s deal. The majority of Conservative supporters support that, and I suspect that the majority of Labour supporters support that. Other parties, including from Northern Ireland, would as well given the choice.

“Our responsibility is to find where there is an overlap between what is possible and what is right. I believe that the negotiated agreement on withdrawal is that position.

“The Opposition, to be reasonably polite, seem to resemble members of the scarabaeidae family who are upside down, pushing in the wrong direction and do not quite know where they are going. If the choice for the country is between chaos and compromise, I think this agreement is the right way of being sensible. I back the plan in the national interest.”



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