22 NOV 2018

EU Withdrawal Agreement

One thing I have learnt from the hundreds of negotiations I have conducted in my life, be they as a lawyer, a business woman or as a politician, is that the pressure always increases as the deadline approaches. So this week's political events have not come as an enormous surprise.

We should be in no doubt that this is one of the most complicated and controversial negotiations this country has ever encountered and, quite rightly, there are strongly held views on all sides. The Draft Withdrawal Agreement, published last week, is not perfect, but perfect was never going to be on the table in such a complex negotiation. A positive compromise was always going to be required. This agreement does not represent our permanent future relationship with the EU. It is a means to an end; allowing us time to negotiate a permanent relationship with Europe which delivers on the referendum result in full.

There has, of course, been speculation this week about the future of our Prime Minister. I would simply say that such considerations are unnecessary and damaging . The clock is ticking and to change our chief negotiator at this crucial moment would be a dreadful distraction. It is incumbent upon us to stick together, stay united and ensure we are negotiating with our European counterparts and not with each other.

The PM has shown a huge amount of fortitude and skill to lead the negotiations to the brink of completion. She has an inner steeliness which is an essential attribute in these negotiations and she is committed to delivering Brexit in the national interest. We now need to back her to get this deal over the line. After all, the alternatives of a 'No Deal' Brexit, which would be costly and disruptive, or a potential second referendum, which would be divisive and could lead to no Brexit at all, are both enormously unpalatable.

Back to all posts

Helen's column

17 JAN 2019

Meaningful Vote

There have been a handful of occasions during my time as an MP, where the burden of responsibility weighs more heavily than usual. Tuesday evening was one such occasion, traversing the famous House of...

10 JAN 2019

NHS Long Term Plan

For as long as I can remember our NHS has been a foundation stone in my life. My Grandmother was a nursing sister at the Cumberland Royal Infirmary, my mother was also an NHS nurse in my childhood...

03 JAN 2019

Cross Channel Refugee Crisis

I'll always remember a young lady who came to see me at my legal practice one Christmas Eve a few years ago. She had three little children with her and a bunch of carrier bags stuffed with mixed...