British politics is in yet another hugely significant week, with further debate on Brexit.
Why did you vote to remain ?
I voted to remain and campaigned to remain as I thought that the referendum would be a huge period of uncertainty for the UK, diminish business investments, cause all sorts of divisions.
But ultimately I felt that there were benefits to be gained from EU membership, primarily to do with trade – the single market was the best reason for me to remain.
Can you see both sides of the debate ?
One of the real sadnesses for me about the EU referendum is how it has divided families, workplaces and political parties everywhere.
But one thing it has highlighted is how different sides of the argument haven’t understood the other side of the argument very well – I think that is a source of some debate and regret.
I think it is very easy to understand as a remainer why people voted to leave and I respect that. I receive constant emails sayng that people that voted to leave didn’t understand what they were doing, but I don’t accept that, I think they did know what they were voting were clear about it.
Did people understood the detail on the legal complexity over how it would work, not at all, they were voting on a principle and they understood that principle and failure to understand the other side of the argument is a source of some regret.
Have you ever been an advocate of leaving the EU ?
Well I have never been someone who has said we should leave, but I have been times when I have been extremely frustrated with the EU. I have tried to get EU directives changed as a Transport Minister and things were entirely unintentional directives as the consequences EU directives. I wanted to improve the transport systems across the Europe for people with disabilities, well the EU wasn’t interested in having conversation about that. There were frustrations with it.
And you only need to look at how some parts of Southern Europe have been affected by the single currency – so things are far from perfect.
But despite all that, I felt that the on-balance and the benefit to us made it better to stay in.
What do you think of Theresa May’s proposal for Brexit ?
Well the key thing for me now is bring the country back together again.
Whether you were a remainer or a leaver, we have a had a vote from the British people.
The vote from the British people is bigger than any politician. Talking to people they tell me that that they want the politicians to get get on with it. So we are now all implementers.
But when I talk to people they tell me they want the politicians to get on with it, unfortunately everyone has a different definitions as to what it is.
But there are certain things that give enough of a consensus.
But control of borders, setting of immigration policies, control of our laws setting of our own rules and not receiving them and control of our money, so we stop having to pay our EU membership.
The withdrawal agreement and the proposed trading arrangements for the future deliver on those, that’s why I will be voting for the withdrawal agreement.
What do you think of Theresa May’s proposal deliver Brexit
Yes, this proposal delivers on Brexit.
The key thing is that we would not be members and we would have an end to paying our member ship fees, would legally be out.
But we also need to maintain good relationships and retain good ties but being outside the political arrangement.
Should an MP vote with their party, constituency majority view or personal view ?
That question has been overtaken by the referendum result.
That is a decision made my the British people and they are bigger than any individual.
We were voting as a Nation and not as a Borough.
The National as a whole has made that decision and we now need to all row behind the deal and have a smooth Brexit.
The constituency vote should not change the National mood.
Do you think the proposal will be voted through ?
I think we will see some very passionate debate, this is been a process we have had for decades and it is coming to a head.
For some people it isn’t about personal politics, as some people are very passionately held views at both ends of the spectrum.
For some it is about ideology and that’s why we get such strong opinions and people that are not willing to compromise. You can’t really compromise when it is about your sense of identity – I think it will go right down to the wire.