WHAT gets you out of bed in the morning? This is a question I’m often asked as a politician.
It tends to be closely followed by a dozen other questions about what I’ll do in “x” scenario, or whether I’ll resign if “y” happens.
But the thing that gets me out of bed in the morning is the same thing that drove me into national politics nearly a decade ago — and that is to help the UK become an even greater force for good in the world.
We can only achieve that with a strong and united government which collectively seeks to deliver on the referendum and trusts in the path we set out.
I believed in 2016, as I strongly believe now, that we have a bright future of independence ahead of us.
Like so many other people in the UK, I took the chance offered to us in a single question: Should we leave the European Union or remain within it?
Following a great deal of thought and thorough analysis, the answer I arrived at was: “Yes, we should leave the EU.”
Like so many of my generation and those younger, I have spent most of my life in the EU and my instincts were naturally for reform from within.
INTO EXTRA TIME
I believed in a number of the EU’s core values — the promotion of peace, global trading opportunities and the values of freedom and democracy.
These are areas in which our great country leads the world.
But with the good came the bad and the ugly — the bureaucracy, the waste, the ever-closer union, the diminishing of our own sovereign power.
In co-founding the Fresh Start Project, I spent the years preceding the referendum up close and personal with the EU.
David Cameron’s proposed reforms were deeply disappointing with a real lack of ambition[/caption]
I saw first-hand the things that worked and the things that didn’t, and the project team delivered a manifesto for change to then-Prime Minister David Cameron, suggesting ways to fundamentally reform the EU for the better and reverse the road we were going down.
His renegotiation was finalised three years ago almost to the day — and it’s safe to say that despite his best efforts, the reforms proposed were deeply disappointing, with a real lack of ambition.
So when the EU’s denial of the need for reform and their intransigence to the PM’s reasonable proposals became clear, the decision I should take was made blindingly obvious to me. We should leave the EU and forge a new path in the world.
It was put to a referendum and the rest, as they say, is history.
For some, though, the result of the referendum is not history. It’s something they are desperate to re-run.
Calls for an extension, a delay or even a second referendum are persistent — but so too is my
determination, and the determination of this Government, to deliver on the will of the first one.
Democracy is not about trying again until you get the result you want.
It’s about compromise and accepting that while we might disagree with each other, we should respect each other’s views.
That need for compromise is precisely why we continue to negotiate with the EU. The Prime Minister is fighting hard to make sure we leave with a good deal on March 29.
Democracy is not about trying again until you get the result you want
That determination is the reason I believe that the Conservative Party is the only party delivering in the national interest.
The Prime Minister has made clear through her actions that whether you voted Leave or Remain, the deal she seeks will look to bring everyone back together.
Whether you are someone who can’t wait to see us leave the EU, or whether you wish the result of the referendum had been different — we all, each of us, just want the best for the UK.
We have a bright future ahead and one in which the UK will continue to grow as a force for good in the world.
The pressure isn’t all on Parliament.
The EU needs to come to the table in the spirit of compromise too.
It would be the most illogical act of senseless harm if the EU refuses to accept that the UK Parliament will not be trapped in a backstop and instead pushes us to leave with No Deal, thereby creating the exact problem with the Northern Ireland border they claim they want to avoid.
As far as our current negotiation is concerned, we are well into extra time.
THE PRIZE IS GREAT
As Leader of the House, I am responsible for passing the legislation necessary for our exit from the EU.
We have a lot to do before March 29 but I remain confident that if we resolve the backstop, we will be able to pass the Meaningful Vote and crack on with that vital legislation.
My own colleagues must not hold Theresa May to ransom at such a critical point[/caption]
We are so close to the finishing line, so my plea to politicians here and in Brussels is: Please don’t snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. The EU must lift its eyes and look beyond the current frustrations and towards the close friendship we all want in the future.
The Labour Party must carry out the wishes of the majority of its own voters, who wanted to leave the EU.
And my own colleagues on the Conservative benches must not make the perfect the enemy of the good.
Don’t hold the PM to ransom at such a critical point.
Instead, we must hold our nerve and push through.
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We must hold fast to the reality of the PM’s deal — that it delivers us a clean exit from the EU and all of its institutions while at the same time offering a close trading and security partnership that addresses the hopes and aspirations of many in our country who voted Remain.
So the prize is great — and it’s all of our futures.
Let’s come together and, with one final heave, we can get the PM’s deal over the line and begin to look forward, not backward.
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