After quite some consideration, I have decided today not to stand again as a Conservative MEP for the East of England if elections are called for 23rd May 2019.
I think it would be dishonourable for me personally to stand again as a Conservative MEP in these circumstances, particularly with my strong views on honouring the Brexit result. I am unable to defend the decision to call these elections and the arguments for yet further delay when the British people just want Brexit done.
I strongly believe it is entirely wrong and counterproductive for these elections to be held at all. With nearly three years since the Referendum (of 23rd June 2016) the British people are angrily demanding that the result be honoured and Brexit be delivered.
There are better alternatives to a long extension that imperils Brexit. I believe leaving the EU under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules with a basic one page trade deal invoking GATT Article 24 rules to keep tariffs the same whilst negotiating a comprehensive SuperCanada Free trade Agreement is doable and far more preferable to having zombie MEPs deprived of their voting rights on key issues and responsibilities.
I am prepared to support the Prime Minister’s deal – only on the basis of getting the UK legally out of the EU and with the ability to override many of its bad aspects under new leadership. But staying in a customs union will destroy our independent trade policy, do immense reputational damage amongst international friends, and continue to entrap the least well off within nearly 20,000 tariffs that drive up the cost of food, clothing and footwear.
I remain loyal and committed to the Conservative party and am not going to stand for any other party. I know the great majority of Conservatives want to see Brexit delivered and it is Conservative MPs who have done most to make it happen. I would like to thank all local Conservative activists for their help and support.
It has been a huge honour and privilege to represent the great people and wonderful area of the East of England for nearly ten years. I will continue to assist in local and national Westminster elections and plan to stay in politics.