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I have the great honour of representing St Austell and Newquay in Cornwall, which was a new constituency in 2010. My home is in St Austell, so I previously lived in the Truro and St Austell constituency. I am the first Conservative Member of Parliament for that part of the country for 41 years. In fact, I was seven years old the last time we had a Conservative Member of Parliament. It was the constituency of the late, great David Penhaligon, and others since who may not have been quite so great.
I know what it is like to live under the representation of the Liberal Democrats, and one thing that has always puzzled me is why people in Cornwall, which has always been an incredibly Eurosceptic area, kept voting for the Liberal Democrats for all those years. One reason is that in Cornwall the Liberal Democrats were very shy about their European enthusiasm. They did not tend to talk about it very much, and they tried to shy away from it.
When I started to speak to people on the doorsteps, it came as a surprise to them when I advised that if they wanted to get out of Europe, the last thing they should do is vote for the Liberal Democrats. That is why I have respect for the Liberal Democrats’ position now, because from my point of view in Cornwall, at least they are at last being honest about it. They are being honest in saying they want to exit from Brexit and deny the result that the British people reached in the referendum. They think the British people got it wrong, having been ill-informed, having misunderstood or having been too thick to understand what it meant, so we should try to overturn the decision and try again.
I have a degree of respect for the Liberal Democrats’ honesty at the moment, but I have to say that the message I get from people time and time again is that the British people simply want us to get on with this. I speak to Conservative party members, as well as members of other parties, and I hear that the British people are tired of the debate on the process. They are tired of the Westminster bubble, where we endlessly debate and try to rerun the arguments from 2016. They simply think, “The British people made a decision. Let’s get on and deliver it. Let’s leave the EU and let’s deliver Brexit the best we possibly can.” I believe that is the attitude and view of the vast majority of the British people.