Fri, 30 Nov 2018
PRIME Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal offers the kind of security that will benefit businesses across West Berkshire.
That was the view of Newbury MP Richard Benyon, who took to Northbrook Street this week to gauge whether locals supported the deal Mrs May will try to sell to Britain ahead of Parliament’s crucial vote on it later this month.
The withdrawal agreement includes commitments over citizens' rights after Brexit, a proposed 21-month transition period after the UK's departure on 29 March 2019 and details of the so-called £39bn "divorce bill".
It also includes a commitment to protect the rights of EU nationals in the UK and Britons living in the EU to continue living, working and studying and that physical border checks will not be reintroduced in Northern Ireland.
Mrs May’s Brexit agreement won the support of EU leaders at the weekend after months of negotiations.
However, she has been forced to endure strong criticism from opposition parties as well as members of her own party.
It has culminated in a turbulent few weeks, with a number of Conservative MP’s handing in their resignations and talk of a no confidence vote and a leadership challenge.
However, Mr Benyon said a leadership contest would be a “great mistake” and pledged his full support for Mrs May when her draft Brexit plan was agreed by a split Cabinet.
Parliament will vote on the deal on Tuesday, December 11.
A random sample of shoppers and lunchers in Newbury today. Most frequently said comments were of admiration for PM and ‘get on with it’. Accept that nothing scientific about survey but no ‘leading of witnesses’ - as others do pic.twitter.com/557XcFeVot— Richard Benyon (@RichardBenyonMP) November 26, 2018
After EU leaders stamped Mrs May’s deal with a seal of approval on Sunday – in which they said it was “best and only deal possible”, Mr Benyon conducted his own poll on Northbrook Street on Monday to hear lunchtime shoppers’ views on the withdrawal agreement.
He asked people four options: whether they supported Mrs May’s deal, whether a no-deal would be a better outcome, if Britain should leave or if the UK should hold a second referendum.
The photo of his poll, which Mr Benyon uploaded on social media, showed 47 people participated.
Mr Benyon said: “I went out to Northbrook Street to conduct my own unscientific, random opinion poll.
“The overwhelming message was one of admiration for the Prime Minister and a heartfelt plan that we get on with it.
“By a large majority, it was gratifying, as that is what I decided to do.”
Mr Benyon was in Canada when Mrs May’s draft Brexit deal was agreed by a split cabinet last week, but he has since had the opportunity to read the 585-page legally binding document in full.
Mr Benyon said: “I have actually immersed myself in the detail of the withdrawal agreement.
“For those who vote to leave, we are out of the jurisdiction of the European court, we are backing control over our immigration policies.
“That is what most people voted for when they were asked.
“This deal offers the kind of security that businesses in West Berkshire want to see and it will allow Britain to develop trade partnerships with other part of the world.
“It’s not a deal that everybody will love, but it’s one we can live with.”