European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill & Article 50

Last week I was delighted that the Government made good on its promise to bring a simple, straightforward Bill before Parliament giving the Prime Minister the authority to begin the process of the United Kingdom formally leaving the European Union. The historic, overwhelming vote by 498 to 114 in favour of the Bill on the 1st February represented an important milestone. Although it was simply a part of the legislative process as we begin to leave, it was one of the most important votes I have cast since being elected an MP almost 20 years ago.

I was elected in 2015, along with other Conservative MPs, on a mandate to hold a referendum on our membership of the EU. We are now delivering what the 17.4 million people wanted when they voted last June. We voted to take back control. The £9.2million pamphlet, which was sent from the Government to 27 million homes during the referendum clearly said that “the Government will implement what you decide.” If we do not deliver Brexit it will do catastrophic damage to the integrity of the whole political establishment.

Once we have left the EU we will have elected politicians making decisions. If people do not like what governments deliver or how they raise or spend their taxes, we can, quite simply, vote them out.

All of the decisions which the Government takes as we leave the European Union will be undertaken with the utmost care and subjected to the most thorough scrutiny. Parliament will continue to have a say, not least through the Great Repeal Bill. That Bill, to be introduced in the next parliamentary session, will remove the European Communities Act 1972 from the statute book, meaning that the legislation which gives direct effect to all EU law in Britain, will no longer apply from the date upon which the UK formally leaves the EU. The existing body of EU law will be converted to UK law; Parliament will then be free to amend, repeal and improve any law that it chooses.

We cannot agree on a relationship which maintains the UK under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice if we are to fulfil the mandate delivered in June. Membership of the Single Market - the internal market of the EU - and the Customs Union necessitates adhering to European rules and is completely incompatible with our having truly left the Union.

Leaving the Single Market and its Customs Union will allow for the UK to become a leader in global free trade, boosting our exports and lowering prices for all consumers. We can now reconnect with old allies and forge new relationships across the world.