I do want the next Parliament to complete our exit from the EU so we can move on. The uncertainty deliberately generated by the Remain majority in the last Parliament was harmful . Too many MPs pushed out negative views about the result of simply taking back control of our laws, our money and our borders. Too many MPs elected on a ticket of supporting Brexit spent the whole of the last Parliament trying to delay or stop it altogether.
Let us be clear about the Conservative Manifesto and my views on Brexit. I have not signed any secret deal as some here suggest. I do support the national Conservative Manifesto as it states
- There will be no extension to the Implementation period
- We will take back control of our laws and our money
- We will be out of the single market and customs union, with our own trade policy
- We will have full control of our fishing waters
- We will introduce a UK immigration policy
The public now have the opportunity to elect a new Parliament that will carry out their wish to leave the EU. Nigel Farage made a difficult decision for him not to stand in seats which the Conservatives won the last time. The revised Political Declaration sets out how we will leave and base our future relationship on a Free Trade Agreement, not a customs partnership or surrogate single market membership.
The Conservative MPs who last time broke their promises on Brexit have now joined the Lib Dems, or retired, or are standing as Independents in favour of overturning Brexit or pressing for a much closer relationship with the EU than Leavers want.
The Conservative party would have liked the Brexit party to also stand down in all those seats which the Conservatives have the best chance of winning from other parties. Just winning the 317 seats Conservatives won last time is not sufficient to form a majority government. The Conservatives did not feel as a national party with a realistic chance of winning a majority they could stand down candidates in various parts of the country. As a result the Brexit party felt there was no reciprocation, whilst the Conservatives are keen to avoid the Brexit party splitting the Leave vote in some important cases.
All this is made much more complicated by the fact that this is a General election and Jeremy Corbyn is widely assumed to be the alternative Prime Minister to Boris Johnson as the polls indicate. The General election is not a re run of the EU referendum though some people will cast their vote on the basis of their views of Brexit. The Conservatives are the only party which can prevent a Labour government led by Mr Corbyn from winning and taking over. The Greens, Lib Dem’s, SNP and Plaid are all in favour of stopping or delaying Brexit so only a Conservative Government with a Commons majority can deliver taking back control of our laws, our money and our borders. The Lib Dems and SNP have stated that in a hung Parliament they would not allow Conservatives to form a government.
That is why many Brexit party members decided it was best to settle for Mr Johnson’s approach to Brexit and to back him. To lose Brexit and end up with Mr Corbyn as PM would be a double blow which many are not prepared to risk. That is why Nigel Farage decided it best not to stand in 317 seats. In these seats it would have been very difficult for Brexit to win, but in some marginal seats easy to allow a pro Remain candidate to win from another party by splitting the Brexit vote.