I have been consistently clear that I do not support having another vote on the UK’s membership of the EU at this time and my view remains unchanged. Last week I voted against the motion calling for a confirmatory referendum to be held and if, as is expected, it is put to another vote tonight I intend to vote against it again.
I pledged during the referendum campaign to honour the referendum result whichever side won and whatever the margin of victory. I made that commitment sincerely and I intend to honour it. Having a second referendum would undermine this pledge, and betray what a majority of my constituents and voters across the country voted for.
Most people who are arguing for a confirmatory vote also want ‘remain’ to be on the ballot paper and this would in effect be a second referendum on the same issue. The only way I could see a confirmatory vote working would be, for example, if it was a vote on the type of Brexit we have i.e. the Prime Minister’s deal versus no deal.
Many of the emails I have received from constituents calling on me to support a second referendum claim that those who supported Leave did not know what they were voting for and have changed their minds. But I do not believe this is the case. In addition to the many emails I have received calling on me to support a second referendum, I am continuing to receive hundreds of emails daily from constituents who voted to leave and believe that the referendum result is being undermined. Not only have these constituents not changed their minds about wanting to leave the European Union but many of them are now happy to do so without having a deal in place.
Opinion on Brexit remains bitterly divided, not only in my constituency but across the country as a whole. Rather than healing this division, I believe having a second referendum would exacerbate it. With opinion as divided as it is, having a referendum is unlikely to provide any clarity on the Brexit process and would create more uncertainty. It would also undermine faith in our democratic process and give the impression to leave voters that politicians are telling them they got it wrong the first time, so should try again.
Though I appreciate that some of you may be disappointed I do not share your view, I hope this provides clarity on my position.