Welwyn Hatfield’s MP weighs up draft Brexit agreement

PUBLISHED: 12:41 15 November 2018 | UPDATED: 12:48 15 November 2018

Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps appears to be going through the EU draft withdrawal bill with a fine toothed comb. Picture: supplied by Grant Shapps

Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps appears to be going through the EU draft withdrawal bill with a fine toothed comb. Picture: supplied by Grant Shapps

supplied by Grant Shapps

Welwyn Hatfield’s MP has given his early reaction to the draft EU withdrawal agreement - but he’s got a lot of reading to do.

The Welwyn Hatfield Times understands that MP Grant Shapps is on his second coffee of the day for his read-through of the 585-page document.

“I think the kettle will remain hot for the rest of the day,” he said.

“This Brexit text is extremely dry and very legalistic, so lots of cross checking with other legislation and statements.”

He doesn’t even have music on to help - but is instead listening in on the radio to Theresa May’s speech in parliament.

It has been a rollercoaster time in Brexit politics, with a total of five resignations since Mrs May revealed her draft agreement, on top of MP Jo Johnson’s resignation on Friday.

Since the unveiling, Mrs May has received resignations from bigwigs including Brexit secretary Dominic Raab, junior Brexit minister Suella Braverman, Northern Irelance minister Shailesh Vara, and minister for Work and Pensions Esther McVey.

Yesterday evening Mr Shapps tweeted about his view, saying “I’ll base my vote on [a] considered view of whether [the agreement] stacks up to £39billion” - the amount the UK is committed to pay the EU after leaving.

Today, Mr Shapps tweeted speculatively about why Dominic Raab resigned - saying perhaps the answers were in the draft document that he is currently reading.

He told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “I believe it’s really important to make a judgement based on the facts.

“And you can only reach those facts by doing your own research and actually reading about the detail of the withdrawal agreement deal.

“As my constituents will know, I voted Remain in the In/Out Referendum, not least because I could see that leaving the EU would be an enormously complex matter. That has certainly been true. However, I do accept the will of the people and that we therefore have to work to that mandate and find the best possible deal for the UK.

“My concern with the agreement reached is that it may fail to produce either the benefits of leaving the EU, like increased ability to forge our own trade agreements with the rest of the world, or the advantages of staying, like not only being in the Customs Union, but helping to write the rules that govern it.

“I am struck that colleagues like Remain-supporting Jo Johnson has resigned and said that he cannot support this agreement because he believes that is the best way of achieving a second referendum.

“But I will complete my own research and then vote in the ‘meaningful vote’ in December based on my best estimate of what will be best for Britain in the medium- and long term.”

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