I am glad the Prime Minister has prevailed
Column by Nick Boles, MP for Grantham
The saga continues but from one day to the next it is impossible to predict what is going to happen. I had thought we would have voted on the Prime Minister’s deal by now. I was all set to speak in the debate last Monday when she announced that she was deferring the vote and going to go back to the EU to ask for more reassurances. My speech remains undelivered. Then on Wednesday we tumbled into a vote of no confidence on her leadership. From the moment it was announced I knew that it would be grossly irresponsible to force through a change of Prime Minister when the country is in the final weeks of the most important set of negotiations for 50 years. So I voted for Theresa May to keep her job and I am glad she prevailed.
It is now clear that there are over 100 MPs who won’t vote for anything the Prime Minister negotiates. She will need to assemble a cross-party majority combining the 200 MPs who supported her with the votes of moderate and responsible MPs from Labour, the SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats. They will insist on a compromise - of the kind that I have been promoting - one that takes the UK out of the European Union but keeps us in Europe’s common market, the European Economic Area.
It may be two or three weeks before Parliament votes on the Prime Minister’s deal and on any alternatives. That will leave very little time to implement the deal before Brexit day on March 29. The one thing I will not countenance as your Member of Parliament is a chaotic exit without a deal. I will not allow my country to indulge in a reckless act of self harm that would inflict real hardship on working people and their families. I have already voted once to give MPs the power to stop a ‘no deal’ Brexit. And I stand ready to do the same again, in whatever way is necessary, to prevent disaster. We need to leave the European Union with a deal. I will settle for nothing less.