[9th Allotted Day]

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) Act – in the House of Commons at 6:10 pm on 15th January 2019.

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Photo of Kirstene Hair Kirstene Hair Conservative, Angus 6:10 pm, 15th January 2019

The British people directed us to take the United Kingdom out of the European Union, and it is our duty to put that into effect. We must not tell them to vote again until they give a different answer or deliver a non-Brexit that keeps us in the EU in all but name. There are clear opportunities, and we must embrace them. No parliamentarian is 100% comfortable with what is in front of them. That was inevitable for a whole host of reasons, including the lack of clear direction for the outcome of a leave vote.

Too often, self-interest takes over the decision-making process. The SNP is determined to force a no-deal situation, in the hope that that would accelerate its case for independence. My fellow Scottish Conservative MPs and I have always been robust in our support for the fishing industry. No one can say that the industry has not been pragmatic when it comes to our departure from the EU. Whatever happens today, let me be clear that I will not accept any extension of the transition period beyond December 2020. We must embrace the sea of opportunity that Brexit presents.

I have concerns about the Northern Irish backstop, and it is deeply disappointing that we have not reached a technological solution. I would also have felt much more comfortable if there were an end date for the establishment of a future economic partnership. However, for me, this decision is about the businesses and constituents I represent. A deal is a negotiation with a large dose of pragmatism. I have spoken to many of my largest employers and my constituents on the doorstep or in the supermarket, and what they want is the uncertainty removed.

The withdrawal agreement may not be perfect, but does it deliver on the decision taken by the people of our United Kingdom in 2016? Yes. Does it return to us full control of our borders, as so many people wished? Yes. Does it provide long-term stability for our businesses, farmers and fishermen? Yes. Of all the options on the table, is this agreement the one that is most in the national interest? I believe that it is, and that is why I will be supporting this deal tonight.