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[2nd Allotted Day]

Part of Immigration (Time Limit on Detention) – in the House of Commons at 5:54 pm on 5th December 2018.

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Photo of Tim Loughton Tim Loughton Conservative, East Worthing and Shoreham 5:54 pm, 5th December 2018

I approach this debate with a sense of disappointment, the same disappointment that I felt when I decided to campaign for, and vote for, Brexit. I did so not because I had an ideological phobia of the EU, but because I believed that the EU was going backwards, that the UK’s interests were diverging from it, and that without reform it was doomed to steady but terminal decline. That reform was not forthcoming. However, I do not want to repeat what was said in the debates in the run-up to the referendum, as, I fear, many Members have in recent weeks and, indeed, today. This debate is about the deal that is now before us. The country voted to leave on 23 June 2016, as did my constituency. The Government pledged to implement “what you decide” in their little booklet costing £9.3 million. At the time of the 2017 election the two main parties secured 82% of the vote, and both pledged to implement the referendum result. The people have given us no alternative instruction since then, and manifestos have not been rewritten.

The campaign to sideline the referendum result has been marked by two, I think, disingenuous approaches. The first is that it has all become a bit too complicated, so should we not just call the whole thing off? The second is a constant embellishment of the horrors of post-Brexit economic forecasts, which have dually encouraged remain voters to believe that the result could be reversed and encouraged EU negotiators to believe the same, which makes any terms for our departure doubly unpalatable.

I have discussed my view with my constituents, and more than 1,000 have written to me urging me to vote against this deal. In contrast, only a few dozen have urged me to support it. Today I should be welcoming a meaningful vote for a proposal that delivers the Brexit for which I campaigned and for which my constituents and the country voted, but alas, I cannot do that, because this proposal does not deliver Brexit. Its unprecedented terms have the potential to undermine our sovereignty and the Union of the United Kingdom like nothing before, and I am deeply worried for the future of Brexit after the shambolic way in which the whole issue has been handled by the Government in recent days.