The moment of truth for our country
Column by Nick Boles, MP for Grantham
So this is it. The moment of truth. The next time I write in these pages the Commons will have voted on the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal.
Anything could happen. She could win, against the odds. She could lose, renegotiate the deal and then win on the second time of asking. She could lose, adopt the Plan B that I have been advocating and then win comfortably with the support of some opposition MPs. She could lose and resign. MPs might vote for a new election, or a second referendum or both.
I cannot predict what will happen. But I can share with you, the people I represent in Parliament, the basic beliefs that will guide all of my decisions in the next few weeks. Firstly, we need to respect the 2016 referendum result and leave the European Union next year. I will never support a second referendum before we have implemented the first one. Second, we need to protect the British people from chaos at our borders and British businesses from irreparable harm. So we need to agree a deal and cannot afford to crash out of the EU without one. Third, we need to build a consensus that most people - Leavers and Remainers, young and old, urban and rural - can get behind.
By definition it will be a compromise. Nobody will get everything they want but everybody should be able to see some things in it they like.
Brexit is not the only thing that matters. It isn’t even the most important. Let’s get it done in a way that the great majority can live with, and then let’s get on with the rest of our lives.