“Like many MPs, I have received a number of emails from constituents and others asking about the on-line Petition to Parliament calling for a re-run of the referendum and asking questions relating to Brexit following the vote to leave the European Union” says Michael Fabricant. “So I think it useful if I set out the current position.
“Firstly, with regard to the on-line Petition to Parliament, I should make clear that a successful petition simply means that time will be allocated in the House of Commons for the issue to be debated. No decision can be made by Parliament other than to “take note” of the contents of the Petition. The debate cannot result in an instruction to Government to do anything – in this case, to re-run the referendum.
“In any event, the decision made by the electorate was clear with Leave having a 4% lead, with a very long campaign for both sides to make their views known, and with one of the largest turnouts of any vote we have had in recent years. The view of most MPs, therefore, is that the country has spoken and we must now implement its decision and move on. And I share that view.
“A few people have said that I have not reflected the views of my constituents in supporting our leaving the European Union. Those who attended the debate in Lichfield Cathedral early in June will know that I hold socially liberal views, that I support continued close ties with our European neighbours, I recognise the need for migrants who can play a useful part in our economy and culture, and that if the EU had been reformed I would have recommended our remaining. But it is clear from the failed negotiations with the EU before the referendum, that the EU has no wish to change. As for reflecting the views of my constituents, an MP is a representative not a delegate. I am elected to use my own judgment on behalf of constituents and not to receive instructions from them. MPs have to be independent. But in the event, I did in fact reflect the view of Lichfield with 59% of the local electorate sharing my opinion that we should leave.
“Moving to the future, it might be helpful if I clarify where we go from here.
“Firstly, we presently remain full members of the European Union and will do so for the next couple of years. So nothing will change immediately. The Government has undertaken long and detailed contingency planning for a ‘Leave’ vote involving the Treasury, Bank of England, the Financial Conduct Authority, other agencies, as well as having discussions with other countries. The British economy is strong – stronger than most others in Europe. And that combination is why the markets are now stabilising and our international borrowing interest rates are still some of the lowest in the world.
“There will be informal and discreet talks with the EU and other countries prior to our invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty which is our formal notice to the EU that we intend to leave. At present, we expect Article 50 to be invoked by whoever replaces David Cameron as Prime Minister. That will lead to a further two years of negotiation. My belief is that we will formally leave the EU on or about 31st December 2018. We will then be free to sign pre-agreed trade agreements with the EU and other nations. Forget the political rhetoric: the United States Department of Commerce, Germany, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and South Korea are but the first to have announced they want trade agreements with us. Remember: we have no agreements at present with any country as we are forbidden from having any by EU regulations. And despite the UK being the biggest investor in the world in the United States, neither we nor the EU have any trade agreement with them now.
“Although we will be able to control our own laws and our borders after Brexit, we will keep many close ties with Europe. Germany who values the UK as their number one export market in Europe has already made helpful and supportive suggestions. And European programmes like ‘Erasmus’ which enables British students to study in European Universities is open to non EU members. The UK will continue to be a member of these and other European cooperative initiatives.
“Commenting on our Referendum vote, the German national newspaper, Der Spiegel, made an interesting comment in their editorial: The British “have an inner independence that we Germans lack in addition to many anti-authoritarian and defiant tendencies.” I rather like that!
“Finally, Scotland. Nicola Sturgeon has a knack of generating headlines but much is rhetoric. She know that she is unlikely to be able to call another Scottish Independence vote. She neither has the support in the Scottish Parliament nor the strength in the Scottish economy to win such a vote. That is why she is backing off when questioned as to when such a vote might be held. Her latest plan to block Brexit has no basis in law.
“I voted for Brexit because it not only takes back control to our electable and accountable House of Commons and will save us billions too, it provides new opportunities for businesses and the wealth of our nation. We are a global trading power and it was wrong the EU tried to restrict us from being so. We will soon be free again to exercise our destiny and we should have the confidence to rejoice in that” Michael concludes.