[5th Allotted Day]

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) Act – in the House of Commons at 5:56 pm on 9th January 2019.

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Photo of Alberto Costa Alberto Costa Conservative, South Leicestershire 5:56 pm, 9th January 2019

My constituency voted to leave the European Union, and I promised my constituents before, during and after the referendum that I would respect the result. I also told them that I believe in a smooth and orderly Brexit. Although the Prime Minister’s deal is imperfect, I believe it will provide that smooth and orderly Brexit.

The Prime Minister has worked very hard on the deal, and my constituents have given me the message loud and clear, whatever their view on the European Union, that she has been sincere about respecting the referendum result. She has been extremely hard-working and is absolutely determined to see this through. I think all of us in the House, and most of our constituents, recognise that the Prime Minister is trying to do what is in the best interests of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

I would like to touch on a couple of aspects of the deal that I think will help Members come to the same conclusion I came to and support this compromise. I have received many emails from constituents telling me to vote against the deal or for the deal. Even those who asked me to vote against it did so for different reasons. Some did so because they want no deal, and others because they want a second referendum or another outcome—perhaps no Brexit at all. Those who email to ask me to support the deal do so in a calm, rational and logical manner, whether they voted leave or remain. They explain that this deal, imperfect though it is, is a compromise that will allow the country to have a smooth and orderly exit.

Mr Speaker, you will know that for the last two and a half years I have been championing the rights of EU nationals living in the UK and British citizens living in the EU27. I think I am one of the MPs most personally affected by the decision to leave the EU and its impact on citizens’ rights, because my mother, father and sister are EU nationals. I think everyone in the House believes that we should protect the rights of EU nationals living in Britain and British citizens living in the EU, and the only way of doing that in a smooth and orderly manner is with the Prime Minister’s proposed deal. It is the only deal that offers that an absolute guarantee to my parents, to the more than 3 million EU nationals in Britain and to the more than 1 million British nationals in the EU.