An update on Brexit: First Meaningful Vote

As you will know, in Parliament we voted on the Prime Minister's Withdrawal Agreement from the EU, which the House of Commons overwhelmingly voted against.

I was one of those MPs who voted against the Prime Minister's deal because having carefully read the 585 page Withdrawal Agreement and 26 page Political Declaration, like many others, I had a number of concerns. I believe it ties Britain into complying with rules over which we will have no say. I also had concerns that the deal is not good for the political stability of the UK. It has proposals that mean that Northern Ireland will likely ends up increasingly aligned to the EU rather than the rest of the UK, which will have a corrosive effect on our United Kingdom both in Northern Ireland and in Scotland. I am also very concerned it will also in practice undermine the Good Friday agreement which has brought peace and security for people in our country.

In addition, the so-called Political Agreement that is intended to set out the longer term relationship between the UK and the EU gives no little detail, has no timescales, no guarantees and is not binding on either party. In terms of voting this past week, my votes reflected that many people who've contacted me share the real concerns I have about simply leaving with no deal at all on 29 March and the lack of preparedness for that as things stand, alongside the impact on jobs and investment. There will no doubt be more negotiation and discussion over the coming days and fortnight.