I’m pleased to see that the Prime Minister’s legislation to give legal weight to his proposals for a deal with the EU got its second reading the Commons with a 30 majority. The only previous time that the Commons has supported proposals of this nature was earlier this year when the Brady amendment, which this deal reflects, was passed, so there is some consistency.
Unfortunately, Opposition Parties refused to support the Programme Motion, which would have enabled the government to enact the legislation required for the UK to leave the EU by 31st October. Unfortunately, in doing so, they did increase the prospects of our leaving the EU without a formal deal in place.
I have looked at the deal in detail and discussed it with the Prime Minister. While I do not pretend the proposed deal is perfect from my point of view (and neither does the Prime Minister), I do believe that it is significantly better than the one offered by the previous Prime Minister and that it should be supported.
The House of Commons has finally voted to hold a General election and the agreed date is Thursday 12th December. Holding an early election was not the Prime Minister’s preference, but as it was proving impossible to deliver Brexit he was left with no other option. It was also difficult to deliver any other legislation, including a budget, and he couldn’t allow that situation to continue.
While Brexit is likely to dominate the forthcoming campaign, I hope that we will get onto other issues as well. There is much good work going on in terms of the NHS, schools, police and infrastructure, for example, and we need to focus on those issues as well.