Exiting the EU

The United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union is an issue about what is in our country’s national interest. Like 588 other Members of Parliament, I stood on a manifesto promise at the 2017 General Election to deliver the people’s choice for Brexit.

In June 2016, 58 per cent of voters in Crawley, and a majority throughout the country, chose to leave the bloc. This vote to leave was the largest ever in British electoral history. In February 2017, the House of Commons supported the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act by 494 votes to 122.

As a House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee member for five years from 2010, I saw at first hand the lack of accountability there was with regard to decisions made in Brussels – this was one of the many reasons I campaigned for a leave vote locally.

I have continued to call for Brexit to be delivered, in full and on time, including at Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons. I also continue to question other members of the Cabinet in the Commons chamber about the Government’s plans.

Leaving the EU is an opportunity to extend our global horizons using our unique international links, as well as a chance to rejuvenate our democracy at home. The Prime Minister has now received approval for her withdrawal deal from the remaining EU 27 nations. I believe this arrangement is not in our country’s best interests as it potentially prevents us from seeking those worldwide opportunities, and delivering on the majority will in the referendum.

Following publication of the Prime Minister’s deal, and after being in the House of Commons chamber to hear her statement, it became clear to me that allowing and maintaining the bloc’s jurisdiction over us without any say, limiting our global scope to complete our own trade deals and threatening UK constitutional integrity with particular regard to customs arrangements – including the potential inability to ever leave a customs union without the permission of Brussels – is ultimately the reverse of taking back control.

I work for my constituents and the British national interest first, as it should be, before toeing a current policy line my conscience cannot allow.


Reviewing 2018

Henry Smith MP column, Crawley Observer, 26th December 2018.