Brexit

I entirely understand and appreciate the strong feelings associated with this most important matter concerning our nation's withdrawal from the European Union.

The British people voted to leave the EU. Turnout was larger than at any election since 1992 and no Prime Minister or party in British history has ever received as many votes as the vote to leave did. I fully respect the decision made by the electorate both in South Leicestershire and the wider country and I believe that the Government has a duty to deliver the referendum result. However, it is important to note that the Prime Minister must act within the constraints of the results of the General Election in 2017.

These Parliamentary constraints mean that there are inherent difficulties in the Prime Minister's plan being passed, as would be the case in seeking approval from any alternative plan or deal, however I believe that this deal delivers on the referendum result and protects, jobs, security and the integrity of the United Kingdom. There is no other deal available, it is in the national interest and therefore I support it and the Prime Minister.

The Withdrawal Agreement will ensure that the UK takes back control of its laws, borders and money. An end to free movement, the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice coming to a close and vast budget payments to the EU ending once and for all. We will also be out of the Common Agriculture Policy and the Common Fisheries Policy. EU and UK citizens will have their rights protected, including for healthcare and pensions. They will be able to continue to live their lives broadly as they do now.

The Political Declaration on the UK and the EU's future relationship has also been agreed. Both sides have agreed to create a free trade area that will mean no tariffs, fees, charges or quantitative restrictions for goods. This is a unique deal. No other advanced economy in the world has such a relationship with the EU. At the same time, the UK will be able to negotiate its own international trade deals from the start of the implementation period. This will allow us to take advantage of the estimated 90 per cent of world growth that will come from outside the EU in the future.

The UK will also become an independent coastal state once more. We will take control of our own waters and access will be negotiated on an annual basis in line with international precedents. In doing so, we will ensure that our fishermen will have once again have a fair share of the catch.

Both sides have agreed that we should have ambitious arrangements for the services sector. New arrangements for financial services will ensure that access to EU markets cannot be revoked on a political whim. Further provisions will be made for digital, intellectual property, mobility and transport.

Our new security and defence partnership with the EU will be more extensive than any other, with continued cooperation in Europol and Eurojust. Sharing of data on DNA, passenger name records and fingerprints will continue and there will be a surrender agreement to ensure that criminals are brought to justice.

Please do be assured that I, as your Member of Parliament, will keep my promise to the people of South Leicestershire and the UK to take decisions in the best interests of the British people.