The British people have voted in astounding numbers and decided that we should leave the European Union. I said last night that I await the instructions of the public and this morning those instructions are now clear. This is a momentous decision for the country and a key moment in our nation’s history.
It was not the result I personally wanted, but I respectfully accept the will of the majority of the British public. I am concerned that we will face some economic uncertainty and market volatility, but Britain is a strong and resilient country and I hope the economic shock will be short lived.
As an MP I now have the awesome responsibility to work with my colleagues in parliament and in government to ensure that the UK gets the best deal possible for the UK as we renegotiate our future relationship with Europe. This will not be an easy task and may take several years to complete. The British public will need to be patient as we iron out the details of Brexit and we may not get everything that was promised by the Brexit campaigners during the referendum campaign.
The result was close, but in a referendum the winning side needs to be only one vote ahead of the losing side. In the end more than a million more people voted for Brexit. I respect and accept the result of the electorate and I encourage everyone to do so.
My own party must now come together again and work towards creating a bright and prosperous future for the UK. Many personal friends of mine in the Conservative party and in parliament were supporting the other side of the debate to me, but while we disagreed on policy we remained on friendly terms throughout as a lot more unites us than divides us. We have a lot of work to do and need to put the party divisions of the last few weeks behind us and get on with the job of governing the country.
The turnout nationally and locally shows how important the European issue was - and is - to the public and while far from perfect, the debate certainly engaged the British public.
I am proud of the fact that 81% of eligible voters in Wychavon turned out to vote in the referendum which is 10% up on the general election when the turnout was 71.5%. The turnout in Wychavon was also an impressive 9% above the national average. The split of the vote at 58% for Brexit and 42% remain was exactly as experts were predicting for Wychavon and is slightly more Eurosceptic than the country as a whole, but I don’t think that will surprise anyone.
I would like to thank everyone who participated in the referendum campaign – on both sides. I believe the debate was conducted in a very civil and well-mannered way locally. I have had some robust discussions with constituents, but never an argument. I have disagreed with but never disrespected the views and opinions of colleagues or constituents on this important yet divisive issue. I know that most people – including myself - thought long and hard about which way they would vote and many people spent a great deal of time reading campaign literature, watching debates and reading information and opinions online before making their mind up.
I am confident that we will find a way to navigate a new course for the UK that will enable us to flourish as a nation and determine our own destiny while participating fully on the international stage.