It is vitally important that my constituents should be kept fully up to date on my views at this great moment in our history. I have received many hundreds of letters in the aftermath of last week's momentous events. The interesting thing is that with the exception of a few arch loyalists, who are (quite rightly) impressed by Theresa May's stoicism and determination in the face of deadly enemy fire; with the exception of them, every single letter - from Brexiteer, Remainers and a broad spread of opinions in between has called on me to oppose the appalling proposals put before us last week.
I have for many months joined with others in trying to persuade the PM to see reason, and face up to the political reality that her ' Chequers proposals' simply do not achieve what the 52% were demanding- namely a clean break from the EU. The EU were ready to accept a free trade area, akin to that successfully negotiated with Canada. And the Irish Border question can easily be solved using electronic methods, in precisely the same way as we do with 90% of our imports from outside the EU.
Yet the proposals she has now negotiated are a great deal worse than Chequers. They tie us in, perhaps for ever, to a Customs Union; they give the European Court of Justice superior powers to our own courts; and they risk splitting the union asunder. I will not repeat the 40 fatal flaws which are so neatly spelled out in the attached Spectator article.
Not only all of that, but we are proposing to give them £29 billion for the privilege of becoming an EU vassal state. That is enough to pay the salaries of 26,000 nurses for 40 years.
So, I will without question be joining a great many of my colleagues in voting against these proposals when the Prime Minister brings them before Parliament in early December. If we can collectively defeat them, then I will be seeking a fundamental renegotiation with the EU. They must be made to understand that we will only agree to a Free Trade Area arrangement akin to Canada, and that if they do not agree to it, we are ready simply to walk away.
Most of the world’s trade is done under World Trade Organisation terms. So, I am increasingly coming to the view that while I would much prefer a 'deal' with the EU, it is by no means a requisite for a prosperous and healthy economy in the years to come. The EU need us at least as much as we need them, but only some tough taking will finally make them realise it. We must be ready for a free trade area after 29 March, whether they like it or not.
To those who have written to me to call for a new leader for the Conservative Party in the hope that that would lead to delivering an outcome along these lines, I would simply say that I have consistently argued that it should be about policy rather than personalities. The PM must be made to understand the strength of our feeling against the deal she is proposing. If she does not do, and insists on ploughing ahead with it, then it starts to become about personalities. After all, her two Brexit Secretaries have resigned in disgust at the direction of travel, making it clear that it must be coming from the very top.
I firmly believe that we can retrieve the situation and move towards a free trade agreement. If we do not at least try to do so, then Mrs May must bear personal responsibility for having let down the 17.5 million people who voted to leave.
‘Arma Pacis Fulcra’, ‘Arms are the Balance of Peace’ is the ancient motto of my own old Regiment, the Honourable Artillery Company, whose tie I wore with pride on Remembrance Sunday, together with my Royal British Legion Royal Wootton Bassett branch badge.
A complex of thoughts and emotions swirl around the annual remembrance tide events, made all the more poignant by this year’s Centenary of the 1918 Armistice. 11 Am on 11/11/18. I joined the Speaker and Lord Speaker in laying...
The NHS (RUH and Yatton Keynell surgery) have done great stuff over the couple of weeks since my injury, and I am now very much 'Walking Wounded.' I am so lucky to have had some wonderful help from doctors and nurses, physios, and especially my lovely wife Philippa, who has been an absolute brick. And I am so very grateful for the hundreds of 'Get Well Soon' messages. They seem to be working!
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An Act of Remembrance was held on Monday in Westminster Hall to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War and remember the Parliamentarians and House staff who sadly lost their lives. It was well attended by Members of both Houses as well as by staff and passers-by. Three wreaths were laid by the Speaker, Lord Speaker, and James Gray in his capacity of Chair of the APPG for Armed Forces. Following an injury sustained last week, Mr Gray arrived on crutches and...
Sometimes you can be too clever for your own good. After a vote in the House of Commons on Tuesday, I took a short-cut from the Chamber towards my office via a little-known staircase which leads from the Prime Minister’s Office to Speaker’s Court down below. I was probably trespassing, and it’s a route I had not used before and must have been unfamiliar with the carpeted staircase. Anyhow, towards the bottom, I found myself on the floor with a leg at an awkward angle. There was no-one...
© 2018 James Gray MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA