This week Parliament is having its Easter recess – albeit a week late, and it is good to be able to spend time in the constituency, being out in the community, meeting local people and listening to what you have to say.
Clearly one subject continues to dominate these conversations as people want to know the latest situation on Brexit and let me know their views and hear mine.
Last week we saw another delay to the date that we are due to leave the EU. This time until the 31st October at the latest. However, the EU left the door open for us to leave earlier if a Withdrawal Agreement can be approved by Parliament.
Like many I am very disappointed that we have not left the EU on schedule. It is an ongoing failure of the Political Establishment, here and in the EU, that has resulted in the current impasse. A delay is the last thing our country needs. Not only will it continue the uncertainty for businesses who are crying out for a decision and clarity on the way forward so they can plan and adapt as needed, but this delay will mean that Parliament will continue to be paralysed with Brexit dominating the political debate for more weeks and possibly months. It is also clear from my mail box that this delay is deepening the disillusionment and sense of betrayal that many are feeling.
If we cannot agree a deal to leave by 22nd May we will also have to participate in the EU Parliamentary elections. Almost three years after the UK voted to leave the EU this will seem totally unacceptable to many people, it does to me.
The reality is that the solution to this situation is not more time. We have had more than two years to debate and find a way for us to leave the EU. What we need is the political will to deliver on the result of the referendum and real, bold leadership to find a way forward. Sadly, too many MPs have been guilty of publicly saying they respect the result of the referendum whilst working behind the scenes to do all they can to prevent it from happening.
The past two years has been marked by those who have sought to undermine the negotiations in order to delay, dilute and ultimately prevent us from leaving. It is only once we are through this and the political history of this period is written that I believe we will really understand just how damaging to our national interests, and democracy, those who have fought against the democratic decision our country made will be fully known and assessed.
I believe it is time for MPs from all parties to come clean with the British people and be honest about their true intentions. For me, I remain committed to doing all I can to ensure we leave as soon as possible. I will particularly be focusing my efforts to ensure we can agree a deal for us to leave in time for us to not have to participate in the EU elections. I will be urging the Prime Minister to giving Parliament the opportunity to secure this as early as possible once Parliament returns after Easter and urging all MPs who say they are committed to honouring the referendum result to support the Withdrawal Agreement and getting us out of the EU.