TENSIONS are running high in Westminster as MPs prepare to vote on the Withdrawal Agreement PM Theresa May has negotiated with the EU.

Here two Hampshire Tory MPs share their opposing views ahead of the crunch vote on December 11.


MP for Romsey and Southampton North

Caroline Nokes, MP, was interviewed by pupils of Awbridge Prtimary School for the school newspaper and the village magazine. Photo: Ian Hinchliffe. Caroline Nokes, MP, was interviewed by pupils of Awbridge Prtimary School for the school newspaper and the village magazine. Photo: Ian Hinchliffe.

"Over the last few days many of my constituents have been in touch to express their views on the proposed Brexit deal. The majority have made it clear that they want the issue resolved, and many have expressed their personal admiration for the PM’s tenacity and determination.

I am on record as having favoured the remain option during the EU referendum and like many I was disappointed by the outcome at the time, however I am a democrat and that means accepting the will of the people.

Since then it has been crucial for the Prime Minister to both deliver Brexit and lead the work of healing our deeply divided nation. Through ensuring she promoted MPs from both sides of the argument into Government, by listening to a range of views and a having a tenacious approach to negotiating with the EU, I believe Theresa May has delivered a Brexit deal for all of the people of the UK.

This delivers on the outcome of the referendum in 2016. We are leaving the Single Market and the Customs Union, whilst forging the deep and special partnership with the EU the 2017 Election Manifesto on which I stood promised. We are taking back control of our borders, our laws and our money, we will become an independent coastal state, whilst protecting the position of Northern Ireland and the Union.

Of course, taking difficult decisions in Government means it is never possible to please all of the people, all of the time, however I have always been a pragmatist, and recognise that in any negotiation compromise is essential.

This deal gives us the chance to build a new future outside the European Union, without the desperate uncertainty a “no deal” outcome would give us. There have been a range of financial forecasts indicating a no deal scenario would have a significantly detrimental effect to our economy.

The decisions taken in Parliament over the coming months have the potential to shape the lives of a generation. At a time when the economy is increasingly buoyant and employment is at a 40 year high I simply cannot vote for anything which I believe would make my constituents worse off.

This decision goes beyond party politics and thoughts of future elections; I will be voting in favour of this deal because I believe it is the right thing to do for my constituents.”

Rt Hon Caroline Nokes MP


MP for Southampton Itchen

Royston Smith. Royston Smith.

"I remain opposed to the Withdrawal Agreement in its current form. When the agreement is put to a vote in Parliament next month I will not vote for it.

In my constituency of Southampton Itchen, 60% voted, as I did, to leave the European Union.

I don’t pretend to know what all 17.4 million people who voted leave wanted when they voted, and I don’t know what they all want now. Neither does anyone else. If anyone tells you anything different they are being dishonest. But I do know it was made clear by the then Prime Minister, David Cameron, who said ‘This is your decision. The Government will implement what you decide’.

The Withdrawal Agreement leaves us worse off than being in the EU. The current Withdrawal Agreement hands over our sovereignty to the EU without either a definite end or an ability to withdraw unilaterally. Even in the current agreement we had the Article 50 process to allow us to withdraw from the EU, the new agreement takes that opportunity away and leaves us in a worse position than remaining a full member of the EU.

On 25 November, 27 EU leaders gathered in Brussels and put out a statement without the UK that vowed to protect their own interests on issues from fishing to fair competition to the rights of citizens. This makes clear the challenge we will face in being locked in a backstop that we can’t leave until all remaining EU members agree.

All these countries have rightly put their national interests first. The UK should do the same.

What we know is that as a country Britain voted to leave. As your Member of Parliament and a democrat, it is my intention and duty to deliver the wish of the majority.

It is not too late for the Prime Minister, who I support, to modify this agreement. If she fails to do so the consequences will be of the Government’s making."

Royston Smith MP