We were under enormous pressure to support May’s shambles of a Brexit deal; thank goodness we resisted! COMMENT
In the early hours of June 24, 2016, as I emerged from the BBC referendum results broadcast, I could not have foreseen the chaotic aftermath of the previous day’s vote.
He interrupted the interview an hour or so later, while facing John Humphries across the Today Programme studio, to go live to David Cameron’s resignation speech from Downing Street. Following a tumultuous leadership election, Theresa May was elected Prime Minister. At first glance, the situation appeared to be promising. Mrs May’s address at Lancaster House seemed to echo the theme of the Brexit vote: that we would reclaim control of our laws, borders, economy, and commerce.
However, we underestimated the tenacity of those who refused to recognize the referendum’s outcome. Mrs May tried to lock us into EU laws and trade standards without giving us a say in them with her Chequers Plan and the 2018 draft Withdrawal Agreement, putting our country on the road to BRINO – “Brexit in Name Only.”
The Withdrawal Agreement was defeated in Parliament for the first time by 230 votes, the largest Commons defeat in modern history for any government.
Mrs May was unfazed, and she insisted on two more votes. My Euroskeptic colleagues and I were under enormous pressure to support the arrangement. We were informed that if we didn’t, Brexit would be lost, and the Conservative Party and the Government would be decimated.
Calls for us to give in came from all sides, including from prominent Brexit supporters and media.
But I, along with a few other Conservative colleagues, refused to vote for the accord a third time. The upshot was a new Prime Minister, a new Withdrawal Agreement, and a landslide election triumph, far from the dire predictions.
However, even after leaving day in January of last year, there was still a risk that the Prime Minister would be pressured into negotiating a trade deal with the EU that would require us to follow their laws indefinitely, thus keeping us as a client state.
So it was with anxiety that I began reading the contract that had been returned from Brussels on Christmas Eve. I felt a great sense of relief after wading through a thousand pages. This was a bargain that provided us with a Brexit value. “Brinkwire News in Condensed Form.”