The Blog of
Nadine Dorries
My Article in The Times (from last week)
Posted Wednesday, 3 April 2019 at 12:40

When my ex-husband and I divorced we went through a transition period. You might call it a trial separation, but nonetheless it was a time when we sorted out boundaries, division of assets, visiting rights and our future working relationship. This was after we drew up a very successful political declaration with the kids. We both knew we wanted to leave.

If only the Brexit negotiators had been as pragmatic as we were and started with a shared commitment to divorce. This process should have begun with us activating Article 24 of the Gatt treaty through the World Trade Organisation. If the negotiation team had started there, the EU would have known we meant business.

Instead, this withdrawal agreement contains so many unsavoury components it leaves a bad taste in the mouth. On its first outing to the Commons I voted against it. On the second, only while holding my nose did I march, reluctantly, into the aye lobby.

I did so with very good reason. I could sense a change in the public mood and now believe that the withdrawal agreement is as good as it’s going to get. We have a Remain prime minister, Remain negotiators, Remain civil service, Remain advisers in No 10, a big majority of Remain MPs and, the killer, a strongly Remain Speaker.

Brexit is to be decided in Westminster, which was never going to allow no-deal to happen. In the divorce analogy Westminster is the injured party that wants to keep the dog. We are never going to have a rational conversation or reach a painless consensus.

The withdrawal agreement has its good and bad points. During the transition period we get to negotiate our future trading relationship. Although many are unhappy with the fact that we are still in the customs union during the transition period, it’s up to us to work hard to make sure we lose those shackles when we finally break free.

Driving home one night from the Commons, I heard a broadcaster on the radio say, “only days to go until we have left”. I laughed and muttered to the radio: “No, you don’t really think that.” But listening to the rest of the interview I realised this illogical belief that those leading the negotiating process would actually allow no-deal to happen was no longer funny.

After last weekend, all is now clear, if we don’t vote for the withdrawal agreement we will get something far worse: Article 50 revoked altogether, meaning we don’t leave, or a permanent customs union and single market. It will be chillingly chaotic and we won’t have a hope in hell of ever getting a clean break in our lifetime.

As I pulled into my driveway, I smiled. My ex-husband had put the bins out for me, opened the gates to save me getting out of the car and put the lights on. This may all seem just awful now, but maybe the withdrawal agreement is the right way to move forward after all. Maybe it is the bridge that ensures our future is harmonious with our EU neighbours and that, after a little more wrangling, we can make our own trade deals and finally be free.

 

 
 
 
 
Contact Nadine
Nadine Dorries MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
via e-mail at: nadine.dorries.mp@parliament.uk
or Telephone on 020 7219 5928

 
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