Daily Telegraph 19th November 2018
I vehemently oppose the current iteration of the Chequers Agreement negotiated by the Prime Minister with the European Union. And I will vote against the Government if this version is presented to Parliament.
But what I will not be doing is writing to Sir Graham Brady, the Chairman of the 1922 Committee saying I have lost confidence in Theresa May. As a Brexiteer since before the word was invented, tactically the last thing we need right now is a vote of confidence in the Prime Minister.
Why? I need to explain in two parts.
Firstly, the reason why I oppose the Chequers Agreement is because we could find ourselves in a position where we cannot unilaterally decide to leave the Customs Union.
That’s worse than before when we could at least unilaterally trigger Article 50 to leave the EU. And while we remain in the Customs Union, we will have to abide by the EU’s rules – without having any influence in the making of them, be forbidden from launching ourselves globally making bilateral free trade agreements with other nations, we’ll still not have control over our borders and have to pay around £18 billion a year for that doubtful privilege.
It’s not that I don’t trust Theresa May. She undoubtedly tried to get the best deal she could.
It’s that I don’t trust the EU. Not one bit.
Having witnessed their tactics since the EU Referendum, I am convinced even more than ever that we are right to leave the EU. This is not only because of the sclerosis that persistently besets the EU rendering them incapable of flexibility, they will do anything to keep the United Kingdom in step with Brussels.
So I would rather we leave without the Chequers Agreement. It will not be a “chaotic Brexit” as the Remainers like to claim. Some 95% of the terms of how we will cooperate with the EU after Brexit have already been agreed and it’s in the EU’s interests too that they be enforced.
But I will still not write to Graham Brady.
If there is a vote of no confidence amongst MPs, I believe that Theresa May will win and that she will win convincingly. That will strengthen the hand of Remainer MPs in the Party and, crucially, she will be fortified by the knowledge that the rules state that no further no-confidence vote can be triggered against her for a full 12 months. This would give her a virtual free hand.
Theresa May, like all leaders, has her faults. But her sense of duty and meticulous understanding of detail cannot be doubted.
I believe that if the current Chequers plan were rejected, she would apply her talents to delivering a Brexit which would work in the national interest while not binding us to Brussels.
And if she is not prepared to pivot and work for a no-deal Brexit, then – and only then – will I be free to write my letter to Mr Brady.