On Tuesday 11 December, I will be participating in the most important vote in the House of Commons for a generation – the vote on Britain’s withdrawal process from, and our future relationship with, the European Union (EU).
I voted in favour of negotiations to begin the withdrawal process (Article 50) but having read the result of Theresa May’s negotiations, I will be voting against what has been negotiated.
I have not taken this decision lightly, but I believe that it would be enormously damaging for the people of this country and, in particular, the people of the Caerphilly constituency, if Britain were to leave the EU on the basis of what the Prime Minister has negotiated.
Fundamental to my concern is that the withdrawal agreement deals only with the process of Britain’s ‘departure’ from the EU. For after December 2020, the only thing that has been agreed is a short political declaration which is extremely vague. In other words, if Parliament accepts Theresa May’s package, we have no real idea what this country’s relationship with the EU will be like in the long term.
This is an extremely important point as much of this area’s prosperity and the employment prospects of a large number of people depends on Britain having a positive relationship with our largest and nearest trading market.
There are also huge problems with the short-term withdrawal agreement, not least the weak commitments to workers’ rights and environmental standards. There are also the issues of how much European legislation will continue to apply to the UK and our access to the Single Market. Jobs must be a central concern.
In addition, there is the issue of Northern Ireland and the failure of the withdrawal agreement to map-out a clear way forward for the complex relationship between Northern Ireland, Britain and Ireland. This is, of course, fundamental to the peace process.
In essence, this is why I will be voting against Theresa May’s deal on 11 December. I will also be voting against any attempt to take Britain out of the EU without an agreement. A no deal Brexit would be a disaster for the Caerphilly constituency and the Prime Minister must be prevented from even contemplating such a course of action.
These are difficult times and no decisions of magnitude are easy. But you can be assured that I have taken into account the many representations I have received and I will always follow a course of action which has, at heart, the best interests of the people I represent.
Wayne David, MP for Caerphilly
Please find below a video of the speech I made in the House of Commons debate on the withdrawal agreement, which sets in more detail the concerns I have about the agreement and why I will be voting against it.