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Robert Halfon explains why he will be voting against PM Theresa May’s Brexit deal

News / Fri 23rd Nov 2018 at 07:39pm

HARLOW MP Robert Halfon has issued a statement that explains why he will be voting against PM Theresa May’s Brexit deal.

Mr Halfon said: :As you will know, the 585 page Draft Brexit Agreement plus the Political Declaration was published last Thursday and it has taken me some time to go through it. I have also taken the time to read a lot of commentary on both sides of the debate.

Everything I have done since the referendum has been to fulfil my pledge to ensure that we leave the European Union. I voted for the referendum and I voted for Article 50 (which means that we will leave on 29 March). I want to make sure that the final deal ensures we leave the EU without costing the nation too much or damaging our economy. I am absolutely clear that we have to leave on 29 March and we have to follow the will of Harlow residents and the country.
As it currently stands, I will be voting against the deal for a number of reasons.

Firstly, I don’t believe we are getting value for money out of the £39 billion divorce bill of taxpayers’ money. I’m also concerned this could increase further if Britain stays in the transition period longer than expected.

Secondly, even after the transition, the UK may end up in an open-ended customs arrangement (a de facto customs union, otherwise known as the backstop). The ruling of an ‘independent committee’ is required to decide whether we are allowed to leave. Britain is not able to make the decision by itself.

Thirdly, the deal has the potential to undermine the Union because of the different arrangements for Northern Ireland. I am concerned that, potentially, the Scottish Nationalists, who want to remain in the EU, could start demanding different arrangements for Scotland too.
On all of these issues, the key thing for me is value for money. I’m not convinced that the EU should be getting billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money without us being clear what positive benefit we get in return.

I would just like to note that there are some positives to take from the agreement. It does appear that there is an end to freedom of movement, meaning we take back control over our borders. Furthermore, the Prime Minister presented a new Political Declaration yesterday which seems to acknowledge some of the above concerns. However, unless I believe this agreement substantially changes to solve the problems I have set out above, I plan to vote against it.
Having said all of the above, I will not be putting in a vote of no confidence against the Prime Minister. I don’t believe it is a good idea to depose a Prime Minister in the midst of an incredibly difficult negotiation at possibly the most crucial time for our country since the end of the Second World War.

Despite my reservations about the deal, I recognise that without having a parliamentary majority, the Prime Minister has an incredibly difficult task on her hands. I think that Theresa May should use this time to listen to the different views about the agreement, in order to ensure that the final agreement provides the best outcome for Britain.

Finally, I’d just like to make it clear that in no circumstances will I vote for a second referendum. We’ve had a People’s Vote already, in which 68% of Harlow residents voted to leave and 17,410,742 people across the UK voted Leave. It was one of the biggest exercises in our democratic history, with a 72.2% voter turnout. We made a decision and it is absolutely clear that we must get on and ensure that Brexit means Brexit. A second vote would only bring further division and waste time.

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3 Comments for Robert Halfon explains why he will be voting against PM Theresa May’s Brexit deal:

durcant
2018-11-24 10:32:58

Whilst I don’t agree with Robert political I welcome his statement and his voting intentions. It’s a mess.

John
2018-11-25 13:27:12

1. You don’t think we are ‘getting value for money out of the £39 billion divorce bill’. This is just a settling of accounts. What value for money would the UK get from walking away without paying? How many other countries would want to sign deals with it after it had reneged on its obligations to its closest partners? 2. You think ‘the deal has the potential to undermine the Union because of the different arrangements for Northern Ireland.’ Agreed, Britain is not able to make the decision by itself (to leave the Irish backstop, if it had entered it). But surely gone are the days when an imperious Britain could ‘just do what it wanted’. Or are you wanting to tear up the international rules-based order? Are you a fan of Trump? Or Putin? Leaving aside the fact that Northern Ireland has different arrangements already for animal health, same sex marriage and abortion (funny how these don’t worry you), are you really in favour of tearing up twenty years of progress under the Good Friday Agreement? Do you not fear a return to the dark days in that part of the world, with possible spill-over in Harlow? A pupil in my school here blew himself up while attempting to bomb St. Albans in 1991, my late uncle was a victim of a murderous UVF attack in County Tyrone in 1975. From my perspective ‘the troubles’ are not so far away in time or distance. I cannot be the only constituent who feels this way. I think we will all remember your role, should violence return. If you do not fear the violence I hope you will fear the electoral retribution. 3. You state ‘ It does appear that there is an end to freedom of movement, meaning we take back control over our borders.’ You seem to have the uncanny knack of getting both the positives and negatives of the deal wrong. The UK never lost control of its borders due to its EU membership. Were the long queues at Stansted deceiving me, are not all passports checked when people come from abroad? But when I crossed from Ireland to Northern Ireland recently there was no check. And when I returned to Stansted, flying from Belfast, not only was my passport not checked, I did not provide any form of identity. This was not due to EU law. What is more it is not set to change under the deal. So, no, you will not ‘take back control’ of your borders. What I did would be perfectly feasible for any other EU citizen to do. 4. Finally, you state ‘I’d just like to make it clear that in no circumstances will I vote for a second referendum.' So you will not vote for the only available deal and you will not vote for the only likely way out of the parliamentary dead end. The implication is that you are in favour of the UK crashing out without a deal in March. This strikes me as so irresponsible it is not worth discussing. But by adding ‘Brexit means Brexit’ you are suggesting that those who voted in 2016 were all clear as to what this singular Brexit meant. You will therefore have great difficulty explaining why some people who voted that way support the deal and others do not. Apparently, they have different concepts of what ‘Brexit’ means. This highlights the difficulty of having a ‘People’s Vote’ before the ‘People’ (you, me, everybody else) knew what the deal would be. Now it is becoming clear that Teresa May’s ‘Brexit’ does not mean Robert Halfon’s ‘Brexit’, is it not a bit arrogant of you to assume that your Brexit voting constituents all think the same way as you? It is easy to see why you don’t want that ever put the test of a referendum on the deal.

MickyB77
2018-11-27 06:08:38

What an opinionated comment trying to justify his dis-agreement with R H. Just for the record, we voted out of Europe, not ambiguous, just, "get us out of this Euro mess". In cricket, when you're out, you're out, not maybe, bowl me another ball, no, don't think so.

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