Twenty years ago, the euro came into being. I led the campaign to resist the UK joining the euro. The slogan of the no campaign that we launched was “Europe yes, euro no”. I believed then, and continue to believe, that the UK’s best position was to be in the market but outside the eurozone, and indeed the country prospered over that 20-year period.
I was also a very strong supporter of the referendum. I played a leading role in the referendum campaign of Conservatives In, and I worked closely with the then Prime Minister. But immediately after the result came in I accepted it, recognising that it was narrow but nevertheless decisive and that it was our duty to implement and honour the decision. I believe that the Prime Minister’s deal does that in a pragmatic manner that recognises that the result was narrow, that the subsequent general election did not produce a decisive result, that the country is divided, and that businesses have significant concerns about the implications of our leaving the EU. I regret that the spirit of pragmatism, which should be embraced by more Members in this House, has become lost in the debate over the past few weeks and months.