WITH THE United Kingdom officially leaving the European Union at 11.00pm on December 31st 2020, there has been a widespread trend within Westminster of trying to claim Brexit is ‘Done’. This is hardly surprising when the Prime Minister was elected on a promise to do just that. However, as has been clear from the events of the past 8 months, this couldn’t be further from the truth. We still see Northern Ireland under the grip of the EU, our regulations are still aligned with Brussels and our waters not under our own control – to name but a few examples of where there is still important work to be done.
These are the very reasons why so many Brexiteers are still waiting for the Government to finish the job and why we expect our MPs to raise these issues on our behalf in Parliament and with the Government. Undoubtedly there is a great deal of thanks owed to the small minority of MPs who have not taken the easy option to move on – including members of the DUP, Sir Iain Duncan Smith, David Jones – and more. I have, however, in many recent interactions with MPs found myself facing a brick wall! MPs who previously proudly fought for Brexit, are no longer even willing to talk – in any form – about the outstanding issues, claiming they must focus on bringing Remainers back onside and they are now ignoring Brexit entirely because frustratingly, they have different headline-making priorities!
I have written evidence of this addressed to me personally, and it is deeply frustrating.
While I understand elections need to be won and strategies are in play, frankly it seems many of these MPs have forgotten what and who got them elected in the last General Election. When Brexiteers voted in their millions for a Government and representatives who backed delivering the Brexit Referendum, they did so on the understanding their voices would be heard and the issues they cared about would be addressed. At the moment it seems after backing Brexit and the PM’s Deal in late 2019 and 2020, when it comes to ensuring the Brexit people voted for is delivered, many have lost interest and believe they have Brexiteers’ votes sewn-up, so they no longer need to try.
This simply is not the case.
It is all well and good arguing the Conservatives need to win back the votes of Remainers who backed Labour or the Lib Dems at the last election, but why should this mean abandoning the principles which won the last election by such a large majority?
For years Brexiteers have had to fight tooth and nail to change the political landscape in Westminster so it better reflected the views of the country, displacing hundreds of MPs who tried for so long to undermine our vote and tie us to the EU for decades to come. As it turns out things don’t seem to have changed, with many Brexiteer MPs now seemingly more concerned about saving their own skins than keeping up the pressure to make sure we are not in a situation where we could be drawn back into the European Project. If things don’t change, and the Government is not forced to sort out the remaining issues with the EU soon, this is exactly where we are heading – yet no action is being taken so far.
For example, we are now approaching September – the month where our roll-over agreements with the EU over Northern Ireland expire – yet we have heard nothing from the majority in Westminster questioning the lack of action in the past months. Instead we continue to drift closer and closer to a situation where Northern Ireland is cut off from the rest of the United Kingdom. This is a pattern which cannot continue if the MPs we have trusted with our votes at the last election expect to be re-elected next time round.
This is not about every MP’s speech and written articles being Brexit-related, or only making representations on behalf of Brexiteers, but maybe I sound naïve when I say I expect an MP who has been a vocal supporter of Brexit to continue raising important issues which are still of great concern as we move towards a truly Global Britain. After all, some of these MPs have largely been elected on their stance on Brexit and now the issues are no longer front and centre of the news pages, it should not mean they abandon what the voters thought were their principles!
I know one thing for certain though, Brexiteers will not be fobbed off and treated as a guaranteed vote come the next General Election, should there continue to be a failure to deliver a real Brexit for the entire United Kingdom. So instead of worrying about getting Remain supporters back onside, Conservative MPs should think about properly finishing the job they started.