[5th Allotted Day]

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) Act – in the House of Commons at 4:53 pm on 9th January 2019.

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Photo of Andrea Jenkyns Andrea Jenkyns Conservative, Morley and Outwood 4:53 pm, 9th January 2019

In May last year, when I was a Parliamentary Private Secretary, I believe that I was the first person on the payroll to resign to fight for Brexit. I had deep concerns about how Brexit was being handled, and I felt compelled to resign for the Brexit that I believed in and the Brexit that my constituents and our country voted for. I was the first to step down, but I was not the last. We have seen talented, committed and hard-working colleagues on both sides of the Brexit debate resign because of numerous concerns.

Our reasons for standing down may vary, but one thing that we all have in common is our belief that this deal is a bad deal for our country. Be they remain or leave, I respect all those colleagues who bravely stood by their convictions and made the principled decision to fight for what they believe in, but the fight is not yet over. The Prime Minister speaks of a deal that will unite our country, a goal that no doubt we all desire, but the division we have seen is of the Prime Minister’s own making. Her desire to get a deal at any cost, prolonging “Project Fear”, and her decision to postpone last month’s withdrawal agreement vote were mistakes—and that decision has only led to more division at a time when our country should be uniting behind the democratic decision to leave the EU.

On 23 June 2016 the question was clear: should the UK remain a member of the EU or leave the EU? The British people spoke and decided overwhelmingly to leave.