Below is a statement issued by Damian on Monday 18th March 2019:
I know many people will be frustrated at the divisions they’ve seen in politics - not just between parties but within them as well. It is one of the hallmarks of this issue - and indeed this was the reason it came to be a referendum matter - that it doesn’t organise itself along party lines.
Moreover, although the referendum was - as a referendum must be - on a straight choice, there are at least half a dozen different ways you could leave the European Union. In Parliament there is a group of strong advocates for each of them (and advocates too for not in fact leaving at all, despite the referendum result) but there has been no apparent majority for any.
Brexit is - and was always likely to be – divisive, but the responsibility we have now as Parliamentarians is to find a route forward. I have been consistent throughout that that way forward should be a negotiated exit, a deal.
And that deal needs to be built around some clear absolutes. As I have said before, the approach must honour the referendum result, must be good for jobs and livelihoods, and it must protect the unity of our United Kingdom.
I do hear from some people locally who either want to exit with no deal, or want another referendum. I think either of those outcomes is unattractive.
No-deal would not be good for some sectors and the jobs within them, including some of particular importance to East Hampshire. That said, I have believed that it was right to have no-deal “on the table” not because it would be a good outcome, but to help secure the best possible deal, and I voted last week against the amendment on that. In any case, as I’ve said before, you can’t take no deal off the table unless and until you actually have a deal (or if you were to revoke the Article 50 process altogether).
I believe the combination of the Withdrawal Agreement and the ‘Political Declaration’ on the Future Framework is a good balanced deal. And with Parliament’s rejection of ‘No Deal’ and no obvious majority around any alternative option, I believe it is the only way that we can move forward.
I hope parliament can now come together and do that. It is set to be another very testing week for our Parliament and politics.
MP for East Hampshire