12 JUL 2019

No Deal is a disaster for local farmers. I won't be voting to destroy local businesses

The National Farmers' Union (NFU) has said that a No Deal Brexit is the worst possible deal for the farming industry.

The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has called it a "grisly prospect".

No Deal would lead to bankruptcies and shortages hitting local businesses and consumers alike. The UK has a trade deficit in food, drink and animal feed products with both the EU and with non-EU countries.

The UK imported £46 billion of food products in 2018, 70% of which were from the EU. These imports are necessary because we are not and have no prospect of being self-sufficient in feeding our nation. We are currently 61% self-sufficient in all foods and only 75% sufficient in foods that can be grown here. Whilst we can source food further afield than the EU, our rapid supply chains for fresh produce from our nearest and most important trading partners will inevitably face disruption, especially so if there is a bad tempered exit alongside threats to renege on international commitments.

As it stands, EU farm subsidies to the UK currently make up around 50-80% of farm income. The CAP currently provides nearly £4billion of support annually to farmers across the UK as well as providing a market safety net. There is a serious question mark over whether the Government will continue to offer this support in the long term after Brexit and, if our economy takes a hit even close to the levels predicted, we are unlikely to be able to afford these as well as the host of other commitments that the leadership candidates have signed up to. Something will have to give but these costs have not been properly set out by those claiming No Deal will be pain free.

The government has assured the industry that all rules and processes, regarding farm payments, will remain the same until the Agriculture Bill is introduced in to the UK Parliament but farmers are understandably anxious about the long term.

They are even more worried about the short-term impact of a No Deal scenario because WTO tariffs will immediately be applied for EU trade, as well as WTO rules for plant and animal health checks.

These will have major impacts on both import and export markets, consumer choice, the speed of supply chains, and prices.

Tariffs are usually higher for agricultural products than for other goods and services and perishable products such as fish and meat from local producers are very sensitive to delays at borders. Without an alternative arrangement, the EU will treat the UK as a third country and a range of tariffs as well as costly checks, registrations and certifications will start to apply for the first time and these costs will leave many local businesses unable to compete.

Agriculture is also impacted by the no deal effects of other policies e.g. immigration (for seasonal, agri-food workers and vets).

If the UK wishes to sign Free Trade Agreements with non-EU countries such as the USA, we may be required to alter standards and accept intensively reared animals which have been fed hormones or antibiotics as growth promoters or whose carcasses have been treated with products like chlorine.

I know there are some MPs who feel all this is a price worth paying for Brexit, but this is easier to insist on when their own livelihoods are not at stake. I won't be voting to put local farmers out of business, to risk lower food standards or to have completely avoidable shortages and higher prices.

3 comments

Wollaston is an utter disgrace. I voted for a Tory MP and have been robbed. When is the by-election? Cretins like Wollaston have brought politicians into contempt.
- George, Paignton

I'm sorry that George of Paignton feels like this, and his dismissive words about Dr Wollaston - who gives serious reasons for her decisions - does nothing to help his cause.
- Robert Lawson-Peebles

You were elected because you represented the Conservative party, and accepted the job on that basis, you are paid a substantial sum plus many benefits to do that role, when you decided to leave the Conservative party and go “Independent “ then Liberal” the honest and decent thing for you to do was to hold a by-election. But no ,Sarah hangs on to he benefits and over generous pension, I believe in 2011 you sponsored a bill that called for any MP who resigns from their Party, to be required to hold a by-election, like most things doesn’t apply to you. As far as I and many other constituents are concerned you are receiving the tax payers money under false pretences . Your very keen on changing the rules as often you change your mind. You want a 2nd Referendum, let your constituents have theirs by way of a by-election.
- Peter Paignton

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03 APR 2019

Brexit Update

I wish I could be responding with more positive news but the truth is that Brexit has left us deeply divided and that is reflected in our politics and Parliament. We have reached gridlock. The Prime Minister's deal failed to pass for the third time and none of the alternative options presented by backbench MPs reached a majority. The greatest number of votes was for a referendum on the final deal and the slimmest margin of defeat was for a customs union to be added to the deal.

The legal position is that, unless a deal is agreed by Parliament, we leave with No Deal in little over a week's time. This is I know the preferred option for many who have written to me but not for the majority. It would lead to such serious real-world harms both locally and nationally that I could never support it. It would mean knowingly and deliberately voting to make this community poorer and for many of my constituents to lose their jobs and livelihoods.

I won't don't that.

It could not be more obvious that the problem with the original referendum was that it never defined which of the many versions of Brexit was on offer. The risks, trade offs and benefits of No Deal, Canada Plus, Norway, Norway Plus and the Prime Minister's Deal are all very different but campaigners were able to talk up the benefits and downplay the risks. It turns out that we cannot have our cake and eat it and that countries are not queuing at our door to sign up to advantageous trade deals.

Our future prosperity is already taking a hammering with the steady drum beat of industries and agencies taking future investment and jobs elsewhere. The list is long and growing, from car manufacturers to pharmaceuticals and the European Medicines Agency and this will have a ripple effect far beyond their immediate home towns and cities. Many local businesses including farming would also be hit, particularly by No Deal.

The impasse in Parliament could be broken if the Prime Minister simply agreed to combine the support for her Deal from the government benches with the wide cross party support for putting the final deal back to the people to check it has their consent. It is a great shame that she has so rigidly refused to countenance this.

The PM has now announced that she wants to reach an alternative compromise with Jeremy Corbyn. Few expect this to work if the Prime Minister listens to compromise arguments and then presses on with her own plans. Her current position seems more like running down the clock to No Deal with the ultimatum of accepting her Deal or going over the edge.

Today, back bench MPs are trying to press through a bill to extend the date of that cliff edge. In my view any extension must be long enough to allow the government to put this decision back to the people for a final say either through a general election or a second referendum.

Ultimately, a compromise for a softer Brexit would be preferable to risking the known harms of No Deal but I still feel it would be wise to check that it represented the will of the people and to give everyone the opportunity to have their say, not just MPs.

Without that final say, any decision will continue to cause division and acrimony long into the future.

If confirmed, Parliament could rapidly implement the defined deal or revoke Article 50 depending on the outcome and we could finally move on together.

We all want to be able to focus on issues other than Brexit.

24 comments

Well said. There are many outside the Westminster Bubble who support your sensible approach to ensuring the best way forward for the UK. Good luck, stay strong and keep going.
- Malc

Hear hear, As I have said in correspondence, please keep up your stand on this, although I recognise it has cost you. It seems crazy after over 45 years for Brexiteers to be panicking over taking a bit of extra time to get things right. I agree that whatever (if anything) TM and JC are able to come up with as a way forward, the final proposal on leaving must be put back to the people in a binary referendum with 'Remain' as the other option. (I was never keen on a referendum as the means for deciding this, but accept it is probably the only way to get out of the mess.) Best wishes,
- John

KEEP FIGHTING SARAH. THERE ARE MANY DISILLUSIONED PEOPLE ON ALL SIDES WHO WANT TO SEE A SENSIBLE, MODERATE, DEMOCRATIC OUTCOME TO THIS BRXIT FIASCO AND WE ARE RELYING ON GOOD, PRINCIPLED PEOPLE LIKE YOU TO STAND UP FOR US.
- JOHN KIDDEY

Surely the only referendum that could possibly satisfy democracy would be a vote on whatever deal comes up versus leave with no deal - I would be firmly in favour of this. Surely Remain was defeated in the first referendum? If our MP supported this choice, I would be much more sympathetic to her cause but alas, the only thing on offer is to remain in the EU against the wishes of the majority of the electorate at the time of the referendum.
- Patrick, Brixham

As usual your blog contains comments from 'remainers' that are refusing to accept the original referendum result. If the first one is not honoured then the second one has no legitimacy whatsoever. What we do need, regrettably, is a one year extension to our membership so that there is time to ditch the Trojan Horse, Theresa May, and renegotiate the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, which cannot be allowed to pass. As for the PM and Corbyn offering a so called 'confirmatory vote' on Theresa's rotten deal or a Customs Union that idea is RIGGED from the start! If the public have to decide on where we go from the shambles we are in then ALL of the options should be available to choose from, including Canada Plus and a managed 'no deal. Unless of course you subscribe to the theory that members of the public are too thick to make their own decisions, which I am sure many in the Westminster bubble firmly believe. I must admit to a deep sense of forboding when the referendum result was given to Parliament for implentation, but nothing could have prepared me for the unfolding deceipt and treachery that is being rolled out on a daily basis. Our Parliament is disfunctional, outdated and rotten to the core.
- David H

Have to say, yet again Dr Wollaston pursuing her own agenda. This is not what you were elected to do! The idea of a 2nd referendum (actually 3rd on this subject) is so null and void it's mind-bending. It basically says 17.4m ppl, of which 29,308 voted Leave in the South Hams, should be ignored because remainers want a 2nd go at it. Bear this in mind when you are running for re-election. Further more, what this 2yr exercise has proved is that MPs / civil servants have so little real word experience that they just can't negotiate a deal. To me, Dr Sarah, you have repeatedly ignored your constituent's wishes, the gravy train ends now. At most you've got 2yrs left in this job and unless you've got an exit strategy planned the real world is going to be a shock to you, including the shambles that you & the Labour party have left the NHS in.
- Neil Patterson-Azzopardi

Those of us who normally don't get involved in politics and are reserved and polite by nature for once were allowed to speak out and are now horrified by the aggressive devious behaviour of some undemocratic remainers seeking to deprive us of the clear decision to rule ourselves. For clarity everyone knows that means leaving EU control (borders, customs, market, money, justice). We are the majority in England and Wales according to this week's YouGov poll (without an agreed deal or extension on 12 April then 44% want a no-deal exit and 42% remain). So now is the time to combat those dishonourable changelings by speaking up, locally and nationally, by writing and voting and indeed taking to the streets (as before the Iraq war). Let us use the systems in place like the Government Petitions website to help the emerging and accelerating vote for the promised fallback position at https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/248281 Since I moved here in 2010, I have come to admire Totnesians for their independence and their retention of traditional English values going back over the centuries. We should now see that extended to the whole of our once great country. Just like Blair and Charles, powerful or rich remainers and outsiders with vast vested interests (especially in London) have hired spin-doctors, PR firms and fake media outlets to disguise the truth, using highly emotive wording like cliff-edge, catastrophy, hard vs soft, crashing out, backed by an exchequer using its usual project fear threats of collapsing GDP and employment, with spiralling debt. Negotiation is hard but already the EU has (just) voted to confirm UK citizens will continue to benefit from 90-day visa-free travel to member states after a no-deal Brexit. WTOK !
- Jean Xavier

It's not Brexit that has left us divided. It's 45 years of European treaties that there was never popular consent for. Sarah for you there will be no more issues after Brexit. You are a liar, and have no future beyond the next election...which I expect to be soon.
- George, Paignton

It is amusing to see 'Slippery Sarah' talking of 'moving on together''. The opportunity for that was for all participents in the Referendum to accept the result; not too difficult unless you are selfish, privileged and consider yourself superior !
- John

Well here we go again! The UK is bending over backwards to accommodate the latest string of demands from the EU and what do we get in return? Arrogance, belligerance and complete intransigence that is humiliating this country all over the world. They know damn well that the Irish backstop is the main stumbling block and yet they steadfastly refuse to do anything about that. If their written assurances about the 'temporary' nature of the backstop are worth anything why don't they include them in the legally binding Withdrawal Agreement? The answer is their assurances are WORTHLESS and their sole objective is to force Theresa May's lousy agreement on us so that we can be well and truly screwed during any future trade talks. Theresa May has to go immediately and be replaced by someone that is up to the job. This total shambles cannot be allowed to continue any longer!
- David H

"Good to know Dr Sarah you are still "respecting the result of the referendum" Does this mean that if I came to you as a patient you would be "respecting my right to privacy" by publishing my personal details in the Sun? Only asking.
- Martin Beagley

Why would anyone think Dr. Wollaston reads these comments? But on the off-chance... You said, ...It would lead to such serious real-world harms both locally and nationally that I could never support it. It would mean knowingly and deliberately voting to make this community poorer and for many of my constituents to lose their jobs and livelihoods. I won't don't that... What an utter disgrace. You have absolutely no insight into your supposed alarmist and dystopian future. The option to leave or remain was a UK vote, not a constituency vote. As an MP, in this matter you should be acting on behalf of the majority, not traitorously following your own agenda. Don't be misled: we've all seen through you.
- John, Brixham

Eleven days to the Euro Elections, latest poll gives the Brexit Party 34%, Change Party 3%. Suggests to me that Sarah and her sidekicks have completely misjudged the public. They are really so out of touch that they should think about getting proper day jobs and not have their selfish views paid for by the Public Purse !
- John

Wollaston's behaviour is disgraceful. Since when does "principled" mean ignoring the wishes of your electorate?
- Tony

Six days to go and down to 1%. Let's see how Sarah spins that one !
- John

Let's see, with the Euro results in, the Brexit Party in the South West scored 36.7% of the vote and three seats; Dr Wollaston's new home "ChUK" got 2.8% - and no seats in the entire country. Say no more.
- Tony Harrison

Well done to the Brexit Party. They have effectively put all MPs on notice that if they don't deliver the 'clean break' Brexit that our electorate voted for then after the next general election they will - thank goodness for Nigel Farage. With regard to the EU election result we are now seeing the Labour Party trying to curry favour with the remain camp by offering a second referendum. This is being promoted as a solution to everything when in reality it would be a step towards complete anarchy. What on earth leads so called rational people to believe that a second referendum result that went the other way would be accepted by 17.4m people that have already voted to leave? If the democratically arrived at result of the first referendum is not implemented then democracy in this country is DEAD and only anarchy could follow. We need to LEAVE on 31 October, preferably with a legally binding agreement on a free trade deal, or if that is not forthcoming from the EU then regrettably on WTO terms. The fture of our entire democracy depends upon that.
- David H

Latest poll, Change UK 1%, Brexit Party 26%. Think Sarah has to question her judgement and decide what to do next. Suggests she revalidates and goes back to working, She'll be much happier !
- John

Joking apart, I feel highly offended when someone I helped vote in to Parliament, on the back of a Party, are so arrogant that they feel they can ignore a democratic vote, then hop from one Party to another. When that all fails they carry on collecting all the benefits. Diagnosis: Superiority Complex, Muddled Thinking, Disregard for other Opinions, No Staying Power !
- John

Well, bye bye ChUK! Has it finally sunk into that cranium Sarah? Any other party you'd like to try?
- Tony

Which way is the wind blowing? Ah, there she is.
- John, Brixham

Sarah has lost all integrity by not going for a by-election. She had backed a move to make it mandatory where an MP changed party but clearly she doesn't believe it applies to her. The people of Totnes deserve someone who understands the meaning of 'playing the game' and 'sticking to your word'. Could it be that her pay & perks mean more to her ?
- John

Looks like Chuka has chucked it in with the LDs. Another featherlight blowing in the wind - no direction but will feather his nest regardless like turncoat Wollaston.
- John, Brixham

The Referendum vote was to ‘Take back control’ and ‘’spend more on the NHS’, Neither is achieved by a No Deal Brexit. We’ll instead be at the mercy of every other country in the world who can tell us where to go and in recession so we have event less money to spend on the NHS. That’s why we need a referendum on what is to happen now we know what it might mean.
- Paul, Loddiswell

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15 MAR 2019

What next for Brexit?

One of the few things that everyone agrees on when it comes to Brexit is that it is all a complete mess. No one voted for this divisive shambles undermining our economy and trashing our international reputation. But the undeliverable promises made during the campaign have collided with reality and a hung Parliament. It's like being locked in a car with a broken handbrake and an incompetent driver, rolling towards the edge of a cliff.

The Prime Minister has twice put her Withdrawal Agreement and Future Framework, to a meaningful vote claiming it to be the 'will of the people'. It certainly isn't the will of Parliament which has rejected it on both occasions by historic margins.

Brexit reality turns out to please almost nobody, neither the 48% who voted remain nor the majority of Leave voters. The Deal is deeply flawed and looks nothing like the sunlit uplands promised during the 2016 referendum campaign. The problem is that the Prime Minister's alternative, to leave with No Deal, is even worse.

In a crowded field, one of the strangest moments of this past week was for the Chancellor and other cabinet ministers to be setting out the stark and grim reality of No Deal, only for the government, just a few hours later, to be effectively whipping their own MPs to vote for it. Many abstained rather than vote for catastrophe. Collective Cabinet responsibility and the Prime Minister's authority have evaporated but given the reality that we are just a fortnight from Brexit, the government limps on.

Thankfully Parliament has made it clear that it absolutely rejects No Deal because of the compelling evidence of the real world harm that would inflict.

The problem remains that MPs remain deeply divided and cannot agree what they do want. Parliament is completely gridlocked.

Meanwhile the Prime Minister continues to stick rigidly to her false binary choice between the Deal on the table and heading over the cliff and intends to bring the Deal back for the third time of asking. There are no changes to the legal text of the Withdrawal Agreement and little prospect of a different answer.

At that point the PM has been instructed to return to the EU to ask for an extension to Article 50. A short extension would only help if the existing Deal was agreed and the time could then allow the backlog of legislation to be passed. Otherwise it would be like constructing a gangplank from the edge of the cliff to No Deal. A longer extension however would draw us into elections to the European Parliament.

The Withdrawal Agreement and Future Framework are flawed but this 'warts and all' Brexit is the best that could be negotiated. Whilst an alternative Norway style model with or without a customs union would be less economically damaging, the trade-offs would infuriate hard Brexiteers even more.

The divisive reality of Brexit leaves no one happy. It has already cost us billions and it has drained time and energy away from so many other pressing priorities. We should be striving to end austerity and getting to grips with issues like social care, education and police funding, housing and the environment but instead, two years on, we are still consumed by the hard choices underlying Brexit.

In my view, it is time to take the decision on Brexit reality back to voters. There is no consent to the deal on offer, no one voted for this mess and people should have the right to weigh up the risks and benefits of the actual Deal on the table, or a clearly defined alternative, and decide whether to go ahead or to stick with the deal we already have.

Parliament had the opportunity to show its opinion on this yesterday but for all their protestations to support a second referendum, the Labour leadership, decided to scupper the vote by heavily whipping its MPs to sit on their hands and abstain. The only leadership on offer this week from the Labour benches was from Select Committee chairs like Yvette Cooper and Hilary Benn. More than ever, Jeremy Corbyn looked like an opposition leader in hiding rather a Prime Minister in waiting.

22 comments

Sarah, you've about turned on Brexit, about turned on MPs having a by-election if resigning from their party (which you have done), spent nearly 3 years spewing unsupportable Project Fear and just lost a vote supporting a 2nd referendum. You persist with this nonsense, do you not see that you've lost all credibility and are no longer fit to be an MP ?
- John

As the PM has said many times no deal is better than a bad deal and she has negotiated the worst possible deal imaginable. Parliament is no longer representative of the people and is openly defying the electorate. As I have said before several times 17.4 million voters will NOT be denied!
- David H

Your up-to-date explanation is very helpful. Thank you for all you are doing to get the best possible outcome.
- Mary Light

ps. should have added that Sarah voted for Article 50, saying No Deal if a deal is not agreed before 29th March !!!
- John

This former NHS worker who retired at 48 after being educated at vast expense by the taxpayer has the audacity and arrogance to ignore the will of her constituents and directly oppose their democratic will. Will she resign and force a by election or carry on extracting money from the taxpayer ?
- Rebecca

Well done, Sarah, please keep fighting.
- Jon B

Thank you for your brave decision to put our country before your Party. Whilst we are all aware of the 48.1 v 51.9 result in 2016, we are now also aware of the false promises made at the time, the electoral irregularities, the illegal funding of the Leave campaignwhich is being investigated by the police and the daily saga of lost orders and companies and wealth being moved abroad. The poor and vulnerable will suffer the most from this Brexit. There is nothing honourable in supporting this deal.
- Tricia L

An excellent local MP and one of the few MPs with both the common sense and the courage to stand up against this coup by the far right. keep up the good work.
- Keith Browning

Unworthy Keith Browning, referring to the 17.4 million as 'far right. Typical retort of undemocratic 'sore losers'.
- John

Glad Sarah is carefully representing the views of the constituency (that voted narrowly to remain), and doing so very thoughtfully and using her own judgement - through the shameful chaos created by the partisan approach adopted over the last 2 years by this defunct govt.
- Margaret

Well Sarah, I have just seen you on TV saying yet again that there should be a second referendum. This time you say it is to endorse the PMs deal, or remain in the EU. This is clearly another blatant attempt by you and your remain colleagues to overturn the referendum result. If there were to be a second referendum there should only be two questions on the ballot paper i.e Theresa May's deal or No Deal. This would respect the original referendum result and allow the public to decide what they really wan't after years of betrayal from rogue MPs like yourself.
- David H

Sarah has the right to change her mind, like many other people have with regard to the UK leaving the EU. There are far more positive reasons to stay with the security of the EU than there are positive reasons to leave the EU. In fact there are no positive reasons to leave the EU. Thank you Sarah for resigning the Tory Whip and standing up to the dictatorship that Theresa May has developed.
- Philip

Sarah, please keep up your good work. I am livid about the PMs broadcast last night. I am not tired, I’m angry. It’s time to revoke A50 and start over. A PV on a rational deal that has support of HoC, or revoke and get back to real business. People (like David H above) talk about “respect for the referendum”. There should be no respect for a referendum, which was based on lies and deceit. 26% of the population and 34% of the electorate is NOT “the British people”. People like Farage claim the biggest democratic exercise ever, but is afraid of a PV to confirm a narrow 52-48 “victory”. There is nothing to celebrate in Brexit. All deals make us poorer. I agree with Philip above, there are no positive reasons to leave the EU. All this nonsense about “taking back control” is right wing crap. How much money has this country now wasted over the last 3 years (must be coming from the magic money tree) on civil servants, consultants, parliamentary time, hiring fridges to stockpile medicines, and on and on? David Cameron and the Conservative party should be banished for decades from power for the damage they have caused this country. How lucky we are in the South Hams to have an independent-minded MP willing to stand against this madness. Well done and thank you: it can’t have been easy for you.
- Kevin G

Thank you Sarah for all that you've done - I agree wholeheartedly with everything Kevin G and Philip have said. Well done
- Liz

Well done Sarah. So difficult in this age of fake news and mindless partisanship to stand head and shoulders above the rest of them. My daughter told me this morning why her hairdresser voted to leave - because the Europeans don't vote for us in the Eurovision Song Contest. I think she must be confusing the EU with the ESC!
- Rob

Congratulations Dr Wollaston and your fellow MPs who didn’t agree with the original referendum. The betrayal of both this original referendum and of Labour and Conservative manifesto is almost complete. You have now ushered in a time when half of the electorate will become disenfranchised and who knows who they will vote for. Congratulations Mr Corbyn – your ability to appear to be siding with both sides will see you into Downing Street at the next opportunity – for as sure as night follows day, the Tories will be annihilated for not delivering Brexit. If we thought that Brexit was going to be bad for the economy – well let’s see what this ‘socialist’ government will bring. But alas, hardworking people like myself coming from a very working class background, born to Irish immigrants but given strong values of work ethic, honesty and integrity will suffer – the something for nothing brigade will have free rein in our new socialist paradise until the money runs out. But hey-ho, the continuing globalisation and absorption in to the United States of Europe will continue, life will go on, the majority will continue to be ignored and kept down. Our population will continue to increase at unsustainable levels, our NHS won’t cope, wages will be kept down, we will build over all of the green belt and all in a ‘free’ country where we dare not speak our mind less we are castigated for being extremists and before long arrested for not having the ‘correct’ views. Good luck to all who refused to accept the will of the majority and the resulting impact on what we used to call ‘Democracy’.
- Patrick, Brixham

Don`t despair Patrick, for our democracy to function requires that we stick to the rules, ‘play the game’. The Referendum was won, yet there are weasel words, smoke & mirror arguments by selfish people who feel ‘entitled’, attempting to subvert the system. My bet is they`ll lose again !
- John

The polls say the public do not want a second referendum which includes remain.. Parliament has twice rejected a second referendum.. What happens next? For three years you sat around, voted for Article 50, stood for an election on a manifesto to leave, which I voted for. Then stopped listening to the people and finally stood down before we could voice our displeasure. I am concerned that the continued pretence that Parliament is in any way competent risks the rise of fringe groups and beg you respect the most democratic vote ever held in this country. I am one of an increasing number who are not being represented by our lawmakers.
- Giles, Paignton

Totally agree with the previous comments. It is crystal clear what the majority voted for: 1. To leave the EU, full stop and 2. To do so, preferably with an agreement for a Canada Plus free trade agreement. This would enable a continued business relationship with the EU, but crucially leave us free to sign other free trade deals around the world and there is NOTHING wrong with that. Sadly from the now infamous Chequers weekend which resulted in the resignation of David Davis and subsequently Dominque Raab the PM has pursued her own fudged version of Brexit which satifies nobody, except the EU. As for today's indicative votes whether the 'remainer' MPs vote for a customs union or not remains to be seen. If they do it changes NOTHING - 17.4 million people voted to LEAVE in the face of 'project fear' and ALL MPs have a direct responsibility to deliver the result, IN FULL.
- David H

It is a charade that a majority of the whole adult Electorate voted 'Leave' - that was never the case. Totnes Constituency just displayed sufficient strength to Remain. Usurpation of the Union Jack as emblem of any political Party, especially any whose policies will break up the U.K if implemented, should be declared illegal. The insanity of expecting 237 Trade Agreements to be re- - negotiated to our advantage immediately upon leaving the E U needs to be exposed - at least a decade of difficult talks will be needed.. A 'no deal' Brexit would be ruinous to our economy for many years to come. The interests of the rising generation are side-lined, as also international environmental policies to safeguard our future existence. How will NHS be funded to cope with ageing population ? Our courageous M.P. now stands for Change Britain. More power to her elbow !
- Robin K

@Robin K... Another bleating remoaner. Wind your neck in.
- Richie S

On 15th March you asked “ What next for Brexit?” The next question must be to the 2 candidates for tory leader/prime minister, “Where will the economic benefits you so generously promise actually come from?”. Our potential prime ministers tell us that our leaving the EU will be followed by raised government spending on education, health, increasing the housing stock, and ending austerity. At the same time they are promising, among other goodies, substantial reductions in taxes for both the the low paid and the high paid, in corporation tax and in national insurance contributions; and of course there is also £39 billion to pay to the EU itself. They indicate that the resources to achieve all this are going to come from higher foreign and domestic investment and greater productivity and employment in an economy 'freed-up' by lower tariffs and therefore increased trade with the rest of the world, plus about £9 billion per year in net savings from ending annual contributions to the EU. So the precise question must be, “How will you get the great trading nations of the world to give us a better deal than we now receive as a member of the EU?” The latest data on foreign direct investment into UK from the Office for National Statistics showed a fall of nearly £31 billion at the end of the first quarter of 2019 in the previous 6 months, with investment in quarter 1 at minus about £15 billion. Meanwhile the British Chambers of Commerce Economic Survey for first quarter 2019 showed domestic investment intentions to be the lowest since 2012. The survey also reported the lowest level of export sales since 2009 and more firms indicating declines in cash flows than those predicting rises. On these figures, to afford any of these promises, there will be the need for a remarkable boost to investment, productivity and exports as a result of the “tremendous” trade deals we are told will be made possible by Brexit. Will Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt therefore explain, not only in their hustings for the Tory members, but also to the other 99.6% of the population to whom this is a vital question, how a country with a market of only 65 million will be able to negotiate more advantageous trade deals than the EU managed to negotiate with its market of 550 million? Countries like India or China have populations in the billions, and the USA, Russia, Brazil, Iran and Indonesia also have much bigger actual or potential markets than the UK. These countries pursue very different global policies from those of the UK, including some or all of the following: continuing extensive production and use of hydro-carbon fuels; failure to recognise and combat global warming and its consequences; persecution of ethnic minorities; and murder of civil protesters, journalists and others who oppose dictatorial regimes; aggression against neighbours and disregard of international systems and law. And they will, as we have seen, use tariff policy to achieve their political objectives, including, in the case of the most powerful, penal duties to get their way. Having to agree to import chlorinated chicken might be the least of our worries. Just one example is the certainty that the price for a Chinese trade deal will include us shutting up about Hongkong's rights. So, it is up to Boris and Jeremy to tell us in a bit more detail, how they will negotiate trade deals to make us all richer, not poorer - and please, leave out claims of possessing super powers making you able to achieve miraculous results. David Prag, Brixham
- David Prag

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03 FEB 2019

Brexit. What Happens Next

The grim news from Sunderland that Nissan have pulled out from a major future investment, should come as no surprise. Even Patrick Minford, one of the very few economists who Mr Rees Mogg and other hard Brexiteers can rely on to support their views, told a Parliamentary committee that WTO would all but destroy the UK car industry, but inferred this would be a price worth paying. Not for the tens of thousands of people and their families who depend on Nissan for their livelihoods across the North East.

It is not just the steady drum beat of warnings from firms like Jaguar Land Rover, Honda, Airbus and the pharmaceuticals sector that should worry us but the deep concerns of small and medium size companies the length and breadth of the UK about the consequences of No Deal.

It's easy to talk glibly about 'clean Brexit' but there is nothing clean or appealing about the reality of No Deal. I've seen the slogans 'Let's go WTO' outside Parliament, but there is a good reason why no country chooses to trade exclusively on those 4th division terms. All nations prefer trade deals but these are complex and time consuming to negotiate. At a stroke, if we exit with No Deal, we lose the trade deals we enjoy covering nearly 80 countries which extend to us because we are members of the EU. These deals cover around two thirds of all our goods exports and, as with the car industry, it is likely that other countries would prefer to import from nations with whom there are deals in place.

For our part, simply removing tariffs unilaterally on imports from one country, would oblige us under WTO rules to remove them from all which would mean kissing goodbye to major sectors of our own industries. How would our own farmers compete with a flood of cheap imports of lamb, beef and vegetables? The simple answer is that they would not cope with a rush to the bottom on pricing and the inevitable trade offs on welfare standards.

Far from being the 'easiest deal in human history', to quote the International Trade Secretary, Brexit reality does involve difficult trade offs and compromises. We were promised that scores of deals would be ready on the stroke of midnight as we left the EU, that 'Britain would hold all the cards' and that we would retain the 'exact same benefits'.

The reality is that the Prime Minister is  presenting us with a choice between a bad deal that leaves us with no future certainty and No Deal.

It turns out that No Deal is worse than a bad deal - but I do not accept that this is a binary choice. I don't accept that either of these choices can be said to represent the 'will of the people'.

Having lost the vote to ratify the deal in Parliament by an historic margin of 230, the government then cobbled together an assortment of backbenchers to produce an amendment to try to paper over the cracks. The deliberate fiction underlying the so called Brady Amendment, was a mirage that the Prime Minister could unilaterally achieve a renegotiation of the Irish Backstop. That together with offers of constituency bungs for wavering Labour MPs was enough to scrape the amendment over the line last week but I suspect the divisions within both main parties run too deep for that alliance to hold when the Meaningful Vote to ratify the deal returns to Parliament..

There is no prospect that the legal text of the Withdrawal Agreement will be reopened and the Brady amendment will have achieved nothing but leave us rolling closer to the edge of the cliff edge of No Deal on March 29th.

We are woefully unprepared for that crash and it is worth looking at the report from the independent Institute for Government which sets out the sheer scale of the legislative and planning backlog https://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/sites/default/files/publications/brexit-two-months-to-go-final-web.pdf

Despite the looming chaos, this week Parliament has no Brexit bills on the order paper. On Monday for example, government has scheduled a general debate on sport. I support the cancellation of the February recess but this must be used for serious action on the backlog, not left as window dressing with MPs free to continue any holiday plans they might find it inconvenient to rearrange. We do not have the luxury of time as there are fewer than thirty Parliamentary sitting days until the UK is set to leave an alliance of structures and interdependencies that have built up over more than four decades.

As the countdown to the meaningful vote on 14th February continues, many MPs will be weighing up whether they should knowingly vote for a bad deal in order to avoid the chaos of leaving with No Deal and no transition.

They should not accept that miserable binary choice but make it clear that no responsible government could inflict that kind of pain on the people. I could not remain in the Conservative Party if its policy objective was to deliver such a disaster or if that became its de facto policy after the Meaningful Vote by deliberately continuing to run down the clock.

The current deal is also problematic in that it pleases neither remainers nor the leavers who were lied to about the inevitable trade offs that would be necessary to at least partially protect jobs, livelihoods, supply chains and the wider economy, security and health.

Government could and should rule out No Deal and seek consent from the British People before an irreversible leap into economic decline which will set back our ability to reverse austerity. Checking consent through a People's Vote is the only way to be sure that this really is the will of the people.

It may be that people decide the benefits of Brexit outweigh the risks but this would be in the full knowledge of the version of Brexit involved.

Without this valid consent there is no consent and we face years of ongoing division, recrimination and resentment as the consequences unfold.

There is nothing anti democratic about pausing Article 50 for a further democratic process and I will continue to press for this. In the words of David Davis, one of the most vocal campaigners for Leave, "if a democracy cannot change its mind, it ceases to be a democracy".

49 comments

Sarah Wollaston has almost excelled herself by regurgitating hackneyed misinformation to try to persuade us that undermining a democratic vote is justifiable, pure Project Fear. She attempts to mislead us for her own ends, check her examples and you`ll soon she is exaggerating eg. Nissan making a model in the East because of Brexit, rather than EU directives against diesel engines make it foolish to make a car here that won`t sell well here, whereas it would in Japan. She plumbs new depths by misrepresenting a colleague, David Davis, when he said ‘if a democracy cannot change its mind, it ceases to be a democracy’. Yes, he did, in 2012 when suggesting a new referendum would be valid after 40 years from the previous referendum. The Referendum in the 70s had been implemented, we had experience of the result. When we implement the 2016 Referendum and time has passed, we, if we wish, could have another. This behaviour is unworthy of a Parliamentary Representative for Totnes. Whilst on the point of democracy in relation to her beloved EU consider it`s action in regard to Referendums: Denmark Maastricht Treaty Referendum 1992- NO 51% Yes 49% = VOTE AGAIN. Eire Nice Treaty Referendum 2001 – NO 54% Yes 46% = VOTE AGAIN. France EU Constitution 2005 – NO 55% Yes 45% = IGNORE. Dutch EU Constitution2005 - NO 62% Yes 38% = IGNORE. Eire Lisbon Treaty 2005 - No 53% Yes 47% =VOTE AGAIN. Greece Bailout Referendum 2015 - NO 61% Yes 39% = IGNORE. Dutch EU Ukraine Deal Referendum 2016 - NO 61% Yes 39% = IGNORE. Let`s hope we`re never added to this contemptable list. When Sarah asks `What Happens Next`, I suggest if she has her way, what Helmut Kohl German Chancellor and architect of the EU said ` we decided to renounce the framework of the old style nation state. We agreed that the establishment of a common currency is crucial to the process of European political union becoming irreversible`. Yes IRREVERSIBLE !
- John

Einstein said of the Nazi era "The lack of courage on the part of the educated class has been catastrophic". Sarah has courage and judgement, we should be grateful. She is one of the few. Edmund Burke, arguably the greatest philosopher of conservatism, wrote more than 200 years ago: “It is with infinite caution that any man ought to venture upon pulling down an edifice which has answered in any tolerable degree for ages the common purposes of society, or on building it up again without having models and patterns of approved utility before his eyes.” Our society is fractured. Sarah is absolutely correct, MP's need to cobble together an agreement they can live with, seek an extension to Art 50, and put that deal against remain to the people in Ref 2. It's not rocket science.
- Richard

Richard. Yes our society is fractured because people engaged in a vote but do not respect the principle of 'loser's consent'. Instead of pulling together they whinge and whine like spoilt children.
- John

Richard's sycophantic worship of Burke is embarrassing naïve, as is his support for Sarah Wollaston (our would-be Burke?). He is fond of quoting Burke selectively, so let's have some balance by reflecting on facts and his other thoughts. Burke was possibly the worst constituency representative to have ventured into Westminster. No mean feat. He paid his constituents so little regard that even he himself did not dare stand for re-election in Bristol (much preferring the 'rotten borough' of Malton). The man considered an election candidate to be “a bidder at an auction of popularity”...such democratic accountability was much beneath him. The man was a patrician and an utter snob. The Roman Republic would have been too modern for him. Witness “as ability is a vigorous and active principle, and as property is sluggish, inert, and timid, it can never be safe from the invasions of ability, unless it be, out of all proportion, predominant in the representation. It must be represented too in great masses of accumulation, or it is not rightly protected...the power of perpetuating our property in our families is one of the most valuable...circumstances belonging to it…some decent regulated pre-eminence, some preference.. given to birth, is neither unnatural, nor unjust, nor impolitic”. Really? That our model for the distribution of wealth and power in society?! Keep the property in the hands of the aristocrats and out of the hands of capable people. Good luck selling that under universal suffrage(!). Burke never fails..."we have never dreamt that parliaments had any right whatever to violate property". An argument against any form of taxation ever. A tad right-wing even for me, and I'm a Tory. He was an all-rounder, supporting the physical punishment of black slaves. He believed that black slaves should have to buy their freedom, but never came up with an answer for how they were to get the money. Even then he stated that blacks were not civilised creatures and should not attain their freedom until such time as they had secured that desirable status. He believed that poverty was the result of “Divine Displeasure”, not misfortune. Laws of commerce could not be changed because they were “the laws of nature” and therefore the “laws of God”. More Islamic theocracy than One Nation I'd have said. Of course to complete the basket of sins, he was also an anti-Semite. He ranted in the relation to the French Revolution..."Jew brokers contending with each other who could best remedy with fraudulent circulation and depreciated paper the wretchedness and ruin brought on their country by their degenerate councils…". Even after the Revolution, which he deplored but for no decent reason he states "the next generation of the nobility will resemble the artificers and clowns, the money-jobbers, usurers and Jews who will always be their fellows and sometimes their masters." Burke was wrong on slavery. Wrong on anti-Semitism. Wrong on representative democracy. He'd be wrong on the EU and anything else he ventured an opinion on. Citing him as a guru for Parliament's attempts to keep us in the EU against the will of the people is dim beyond conception. He was anti-democratic, reactionary, contemptuous of the people and a racist bigot. Actually, he's the perfect poster boy for the European Union...just not in the way that you think Richard.
- George, Paignton

George. Thanks for your wisdom. My mother used to say, "empty vessels make the most noise". She taught me to respect the quality and brevity of the word. The Brexiteers truly deserve their special place in Hell. The EU have now started to comment on the quality of UK leadership:-- Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s point man on the Brexit negotiations tweeted of the hardline Brexiters: “Well, I doubt Lucifer would welcome them, as after what they did to Britain, they would even manage to divide hell " Senior EU officials also doubted the sincerity of Labour’s offer to the prime minister, fearing it is an attempt to weaken May’s hopes of getting a deal through parliament. One official said: “It is a shame that we have this perfect storm: a lousy government and an even lousier official opposition.” Sarah is absolutely right. We are at a point in our history where principles and judgement really matter. We are not getting either from the leaders of our 2 main parties
- Richard

I get the impression from what I read in newspaper articles that Theresa May is trying to prepare the ground for staying in an EU customs union. This would be totally unacceptable and is NOT in keeping with the referendum result. If pushed through Parliament it will decimate the Conservative party at the next election and result in a total collapse in any faith that remains in our democracy - and there is precious little of that left already.
- David H

Everybody would be wise compared to you Richard. Why don't you come back when you've got some sort of education? Verhofstadt and the other Brit haters are about your level.
- George, Paignton

Sadly so David H. worth watching this to see how our MP and Parliament treats us with contempt : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6pwZ1saqBc
- John

Thank you Sarah for taking a principled stand on this issue: you have my full support if only from Liverpool! Wishing you and yours well.
- Tom

I am sorry to see the quality of intellectual comment from the Georges of this world so reduced by my fellow George from Paignton. "Brit Haters"? The only hate around here comes from the extreme Brexiteers, who are so committed to damaging our country regardless of the consequences - which have been laid out repeatedly by many respected and respectable think tanks and international analysts. The head in the sand refusal to accept the facts, by the cheap use of the phrase "Project Fear", when the real "Project Fear" is being perpetrated by Theresa May, is risible. I salute Sarah Wollaston for her principled, intelligent and courageous stand. Well done Sarah, it is great to be represented by an MP with guts and integrity. As for the argument that "we must deliver what the people voted for", every serious opinion poll for some considerable time has been showing a majority of UK citizens now support Remain. Why don't those who oppose Theresa May's 'deal to do a deal' because they hate the backstop agree on a People's Vote? That's where the 'Fear' is - because you know that without Russian money behind your campaign, and with the false forecasts of the original campaign now fully exposed, you would lose. Hate and Fear are Brexiteer qualities.
- George Two

With respect George Two - deluded woffle.
- John

Yet again remainer MPs are trying to undermine the UK negotiating position by plotting another attempt at blocking a no deal brexit. Can't these people, including I am sorry to say our own MP understand that the only thing that will get the EU to alter or better still get rid of the backstop is the threat of no deal? Oh, but of course I am missing the real point here. Their real intent is to thwart the electorates wishes and block Brexit at every opportunity, regardless of the mid and longer term interests of the country. Come the next election it will be pay back time for many MPs that are ignoring the expressed political will of the British people.
- David H

David H Completely agree. No deal is a bargaining tool and not voting for Sarah Wollaston at any future election is my intention and the intention of a great many people I know.
- Candy Totnes

Dear Sarah...I agree with almost everything you say about brexit...the last thing we need now is an economic crash when every public service we all rely on is in crisis. We need massive reinvestment in health, education, police and all the local government sevices. It would be lovely if we could invest in more council-type housing so that our young people might have more hope for their futures. None of this is possible with a crashed economy. Brexit has already done enough damage, look at the value of the pound now. If a people's vote can be used to stop the largest collective act of lunacy ever seen when 17.5 million people voted for brexit, then we have an obligation to support it....Rory O'Connor...retired dairy farmer and grand-parent who doesnt want to spoil my grand children's opportunities and chances in life.
- Rory O'Connor

So it seems that de-selection has moved a step closer for our former Tory MP, who I did once support. My understanding is that a vote against her at the AGM in the next fortnight. I am sure that all of Sarah's wellwishers on here will make her feel better. But none of them are Tory you see? And well...she is rather supposed to be adhering to a Tory manifesto. Bye bye Sarah. I'd suggest Sarah resigns before the inevitable and allows Totnes to vote (oh the irony!). That way it might look like she's got an ounce of credibility, rather than having her own local party eject her incompetent and disloyal miserable face.
- George, Paignton

So Sarah has jumped before being pushed ! Do the right thing and call a by election as we didn`t know what we were voting for when we elected you.
- John

Dear Dr. Wollaston Thank you for standing up for what is correct, decent and fundamentally democratic. Your resigning of the party whip shows that you care about the people and future of this constituency and country. I wish you well in the weeks and months ahead and hope that there are more MPs like you who are prepared to do the right thing. Yours sincerely, with gratitude. Zoe
- Zoe

Dear Dr Wollaston Please can you let the people of Totnes know when we can expect you to stand down as an MP and allow us the choice (via a By-Election) as to whether or not we still can support you as an Independent MP for our constituency?
- Sharon Carrino

Well Sarah Wollaston you really do take the biscuit! After almost two years of undermining the Prime Minister and our negotiating team you have now decided to betray your political party and your consituents by joining Labour's breakaway party. In your resignation statement you try to claim the high moral ground, but it is clearly a case of 'jumping ship' before you were deselected. I have spent hours over the last two years pleading for you to support the Government at a time of national importance only to be ignored and betrayed at every turn. I cannot put into words how utterly disappointed and completely betrayed I feel. Politics in this country is now at an all time low, due in no small measure to the way MPs like you have behaved. I will not be voting for you in any election, that is for sure.
- David H

Thankyou for being one of the few politicians to finally take a sensible moderate stand, and meaning that if (as seens entirely plausible) we have a general election next week I will have someone to vote for, rather than needing to spoil my ballot paper again to avoid having to vote for two extreme wings. I rarely write any comments on blogs like this, but you have taken a very brave and courageous decision, and I want you to know that there are equally moderate people here and around the country who wish you all the best, and wish that there were another 600 MPs like you in Westminster!
- Paul, Brixham

Well said, Paul. Thank you Sarah for your principled and courageous decision to leave the Tory party. If you stand as an independent here, I will vote for you.
- Tim, South Milton

Am glad the inevitable has happened. As I have stated on here before, Wollaston, Soubry and Allen stopped being Tories some time ago. One look at Wollaston's twitter feed tells you that she hasn't agreed with a Tory policy on any subject for quite some time. I would say to the disenfranchised people of Totnes...be of good cheer! This is only a good thing. Her voting record will not change as a result of today. It is just that the party and the local people will be free of her. And without the unpleasantness of having to deselect (which was surely coming). It is ironic that they got elected on a manifesto that was clear about leaving the EU. These must be the first group of MPs to leave a party because it WON'T renege on manifesto commitments. And that MPs whose substantial disagreement with the government is that they want a "People's Vote" on the decision already reached to leave the EU...and yet when they have changed party they refuse to consent to a by-election. What happened to "informed consent"?! This arrant hypocrisy will undermine what precious little credibility they have. That's a good thing. And be clear...if they thought they could win a by-election, they'd relish holding it. they care nothing for "democracy"...that's why they love the EU! For all the people queuing up to congratulate her. Fanatical pro-Europeans without a democratic bone in their body. What is to be the difference between the new party and the Lib Dems? And why then would we expect these people to have any more popularity than the Lib Dems? So forgive me if I am not devastated at the threat these three pose to my political vision. I won't post on here again. There is nothing left to say about Wollaston. The only word from her I would be interested in would be "by-election". And when it happens, I'll be there to campaign against any attempt for her to remain as an MP. She is done, and will soon be out of Parliament for good. It's been an excellent day.
- George, Paignton

Thank you for helping rejuvinate the trust in our Politicians , showing that we can be Pragmatic , that we can change our minds when new evidence comes to light and for going up against dogma and demonstrating leadership when we have none . I fully support the move and look forward to voting for you when the chance comes .
- G David

Have commented before about your lack of faith in your constituents but your judgement to jump ship reminds me of the time you believed in Brexit then changed your mind when you maybe thought it was not in your favour. Now you are looking to a new party to justify your decision. Would never go to you for a second opinion, Farage's party will sink you and your cohorts.
- Jane

Thank you for doing the decent thing. Stay true to your conscience and keep smiling.
- Stan, Brixham

So Sarah has jumped rather than being pushed. True to her 'beliefs' this way she keeps her salary, expenses and perks. Truthfully, I cannot decide wether she is deliberately spewing disinformation or is basically ignorent of the facts. Is she out on a limb for her beliefs or is she supported by the likes of Blair and Soros ? She could prove her 'honesty' by having a by election, that way we could tell and the people of Totnes could have a Peoples Vote !
- John

Oh dear, careful what you wish for Kippers.(No point in calling you Tories anymore.) Again the reaction is to prioritize the party rather than the national interest. Whatever way people voted, few envisaged the situation we find ourselves in, much less clowns like Rees-Mogg holding the political balance of power. I suspect you will find very broad support for Sarah Wollaston right across the constituency and some hapless candidate parachuted in from central office being defeated.
- Paul

Dear Sarah...many of the comments above fall into the category of “don’t confuse me with the facts”, they prefer to cling to ideology rather than evaluate and consider the options, as you have. Incapable of real thought, they cling to the sinking ship. Thank you for the work you have done, please accept my best wishes for your future....Rory O'Connor
- Rory O'Connor

Well said Sarah. As an expat living in France we are so uncertain of our future status. Just over a month to go and nobody knows what is happening. Revoke article 50 rather than a no deal situation. This whole business is getting more out of control by the day.
- Jayne Taplin

Thank you Sarah for standing up for what is right, and representing the best interests of your constituents - despite the protestations of the rabid Brextremists. I have only just moved into the area from Swindon, where the Honda exit will devastate a town which is already struggling, with a dying town centre. I am also working on several projects to improve our house, and am finding almost all of the trades I need are available immediately because work has dried up for them. They are seeing the true cost of Brexit already - lack of confidence, people battening down the hatches to try and stay 'safe', rising prices because of how weak the pound has become. Almost everywhere I speak with people about Brexit, I'm finding people who have changed their minds since the 2016 lies have been exposed for what they are. Above all, the young, the people who didn't get a chance to vote for their futures, will almost exclusively vote for remain if we can get the second referendum that is so desperately needed.
- Neil

Thank you for doing the right thing, you Three who have resigned give me hope ,!
- Anne

You’ve been a disgrace to your party and your voters, ever since you changed your mind from wanting to leave to wanting to remain, and weakening Theresa’s position from the start of the negotiations along with Soubry and others. Maybe we didn’t know the full effects of leaving the EU either good or bad, but the people voted for it, MP’s from all parties should respect that, as a matter of democracy. I voted for you as my Conservative representative, you are not that anymore, do the decent and honest thing , call a by-election and stand as whatever you now see yourself, I truly wish WE could have the opportunity to let you see how dissatisfied the constituents are.. Nice to see you laughing and smiling with Soubry on the National news, how CRASS, you have done the good people of this great country, irreparable damage. Peter M
- Petermulloy

In the 2017 election I put my cross against: 'Wollaston. Sarah, The Conservative Party'. She has now stolen my vote, my representative is no more; what say you Sarah ?
- John

As you were voted in as the Conservative candidate, do you believe you should be collecting a salary expenses as you are not fulfilling the job for which we elected you? Surely the honest and democratic thing to do would be to resign completely, call a by-election, not really honest to take money under false pretences is it? I’m sure no one voted for you to vote with Corbyn or sit on his side of the house
- Petermulloy

Petermulloy (and others wanting a By-Election) You voted for Sarah, you won. Get Over It. Second Votes are - according to the Brextremists - undemocratic. I want a second vote on Europe so that people can vote based on truth not lies, but your ilk don't want that because you are now obviously in the minority.
- Neil

So, all the critics expect Sarah to be un-thinking Lobby-fodder for a PM who is being held to ransom by the ERG and DUP. Great idea!! I take the point about defection from the party under whose banner she was elected - BUT do we really want our MPs to blindly follow "The Party" irrespective of the evidence in front of them? The reality is no-one really knows what a no-deal Brexit will entail, but we do know that everyone (ERG included) agree that it will be bad news to some extent. However, the ERG have a "price worth paying" mentality - try telling that to my family who work in areas dependent on free flow of materials and goods across the channel every day. They are the ones who will pay the price, not the ERG and their fellow-thinkers.
- John2

I wasn't sure why she was nicknamed Slippery Sarah until I discovered that she supported a Bill to make MPs, that left their party, should have to fight a By-Election. What hypocrisy !
- John

For those who doubt John’s comment above, the bill in question was put forward by Chis Skidmore in 2011 and sponsored/supported by Dr Sarah Wollaston – google it, it is clear and unambiguous – an MP “who crosses the floor, or ‘defects’, should trigger an automatic by-election so their constituents can have a final say on their decision”. This goes to the heart of why our politics are broken – MPs are acting in their own interests and ignoring the wishes of the majority. Maybe democracy was always a sham and this has made it clear to all. I understand that a significant number on here and in the wider country wish to Remain and for some it seems it doesn’t matter what the cost is and how it is achieved – maybe setting a very dangerous precedent. The ‘Politics of Fear’ has gone into overdrive over the last couple of years; people who disagree are ‘stupid’, ‘old’, ‘right wing’, ‘fascist’ or even worse. The original ‘Leave’ majority are being bullied into submission and won’t even be offered a real choice to leave if/when there is a ‘People Vote’. I really do worry, not for now, but for the future as we are forced to follow the path of ever closer EU union – politically, financially, monetary, legally and military – as this must happen for the EU dream to survive and we are unlikely to get another say in our lifetimes. Previous examples of this sort of power base in history are not looked back in good light – e.g. the breakup of the USSR, more recently the former Yugoslavia etc. or even further back there are many examples of uprisings against empires – some very close to home!!
- Patrick, Brixham

Patrick. 'MPs are acting in their own interests and ignoring the wishes of the majority'. Yes but why ? Certainly some hope to make a buck or two by keeping the status quo ! By far the majority are those who actually start to believe they are superior beings and know better than the rest of us, justifying dispensing with democracy. That of course is nonsense, if true they would mostly all agree, which they don't. They work in a convenient little club with pay and conditions others can only dream of. Both Left and Right feel more akin than with mere mortals. I have known many MPs who would not 'cut it' inthe real world, some who are quite able. Those who are the most contemptible are like 'our Sarah' who feel so superior that they can do complete about turns without having to test their views with their constituents !
- John

ps. now that she has left the Conservative party and joined a company, who is Sarah W answerable to ? Cannot be the electorate, she has disenfranchised them, yet we still pay her wages !
- John

Thank you to those MPs who reject tribalism and extremes both of which so often seem to bring out the worst in society and politics
- Tim

I voted for the candidate not the party so I do hope that Sarah continues to be my MP.
- Pat

I see that a pro Israel lobbyist claims he is funding Sarah's new group; what is going on when a foreign power is trying to influence our Parliament ?
- John

I am used to the cliches, the idiocies, the falsehoods, the unfounded assertions and the dishonesty that fill all the diatribes of the Remainers, so when Dr Wallaston makes her pitch to justify her action one is not at all surprised. I might ask her for a medical opinion but her understanding and knowledge of economics, politics, democracy and the EU is so limited, so crass, so, dare I say it, populist, that one could not trust her with any decision. If things were left to her, we would never get a say on anything major - we are all (in her view and those of her fellow travellers) too stupid, too uneducated, too ignorant to understand the big issues which only she and her ilk understand. It would be laughable if it were not so disastrous for this country. Test your opinions, Dr Wallaston, resign your seat, and stand as a brave new independent committed to EU membership no matter what. Or just be laughed at.
- Jos

I don't think MPs living in the bubble of Westminster have the faintest idea how much their ongoing betrayal of our country and the electorate is going down in this country. If Brexit is not delivered, with or without Theresa May's rotten deal there will be serious trouble in this country and I personally will cannot see myself voting for ANY of the mainstream political parties again in a national election. As for those advocating a second referendum I would say the first one must be honoured or such a thing is totally WORTHLESS!
- David H

Leaving aside Dr Wollaston's disingenuous and misleading comments on Nissan/UK, I just emailed her again, thus: Dear Dr Wollaston, I note your contribution to Parlieamentary debate: Exiting the European Union (11 Mar 2019) https://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2019-03-11a.127.0&s=speaker:24761#g149.5 Sarah Wollaston: Even if this monumental fudge is enough to satisfy the ERG and just about manages to scrape through the House tomorrow, what happens next if it is not ratified by the European Parliament? I must point out that our PM does not merely have to "satisfy the ERG" but meet her obligations to the 17.4 million people who voted to leave the EU - the figure in England, with 85% of the UK population, was of course 53% Leave, and in your constituency the figure was 56%... The Brussels WA, drawn up in and by Brussels then handed to May to be rubber stamped by (they imagined) a supine Parliament, is truly shameful and could not be acceded to by any country with a vestige of national pride or a sense of its best interests. Your view differs, of course. One wonders why you have not resigned, and why a byelection is not yet due in Totnes.
- Anthony Harrison

I agree Anthony. Why does Sarah wollaston not resign? She is no longer a Conservative MP so I dont understand. If you resign from a company, you don't get to continue to draw a salary from it! Won't vote for her again. She has cast aside democracy in favour of her personal virws. That is disgraceful.
- Jane devon

Not going too well for Sarah and her cohorts, I'm glad to say. I conclude that she's in a rarified atmosphere and 'doesn't know that she doesn't know !
- John

Sarah is right to make a stand Remember she really does care - as she has shown for working for us all - and is not in Parliament for personal gain / which is more than can be said for others. I like, a lot of people, are so very grateful for her hard work often quietly, caring and very much behind the scenes! I am so glad she looks after us and my area. Brexit is so much of a shambles with so many views and opinions and ideas - With no clear view of which is the best result for the UK. We will not know what is right way forward for many many years! Who can say Sarah is wrong? We don’t! We need to move in a way that causes least damage to UK Crashing out on WTO is not the way.
- Richard H

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19 JAN 2019

Brexit and Confidence

I voted against the PM's Brexit deal on Tuesday not only because of concerns about the Withdrawal Agreement itself but because the accompanying political declaration on the Future Framework delivered nothing but uncertainty and the prospect of years of wrangling to come. The scale of the government defeat has made it absolutely clear that this deal cannot pass the House of Commons. It is not just a matter of a few tweaks, the Deal fundamentally pleased neither remainers nor the majority of those who had campaigned for leave.

Far from being the easiest deal in history, the reality was always going to be that compromises and trade offs would be necessary during negotiations. Brexit reality is very far from the sunlit uplands promised during the campaign.

Parliament has reached a complete impasse and I do not believe there will be a majority for any of the alternative proposals and least of all for leaving with no deal at all. In the meantime the days are counting down to March 29th and we risk falling into a chaotic No Deal Brexit unless an alternative is in place. No responsible government could knowingly and deliberately allow that to happen given the serious real world harm to individuals, communities and our economy. The term 'clean Brexit' is a misnomer, it would leave a great deal of avoidable misery for too many of our fellow citizens. No doubt the comfortably off leaders of the Leave campaign would be fine but the economic fallout would hit the poorest the hardest. It has taken a decade to recover from the effects of the 2008 crash and that involved many tough choices about government spending. I want to see an end to austerity, not see us deliberately crashing out with no deal and putting that recovery in jeopardy.

I believe that the only alternative way out of this mess will be to seek an extension of Article 50 and a People's Vote.

My feeling is that a People's Vote should at least include the only negotiated deal as well as an option to remain. I know many people would also like to see No Deal included. The Electoral Commission would advise and Parliament would debate and decide on the question if a decision was made to go ahead with a Referendum Bill. The following report from the Constitution Unit at University College London on the mechanics of a referendum sets out the mechanics of organising a referendum and how this could be achieved in far less than a year https://www.ucl.ac.uk/constitution-unit/sites/constitution-unit/files/the_mechanics_of_a_further_referendum_on_brexit_-_constitution_unit_report_183_revised.pdf

Due to a recent amendment which I supported, the PM must now announce her next steps on Monday, rather than having 21 days as she would otherwise have been able to do. Reports are that the government is now in listening mode but I struggle to see any changes to the Deal that would unite enough backbenchers and secondly be approved by the EU to see it succeed. Others a pushing for a Norway Style deal which would allow us to continue membership of the Single Market, alongside a customs arrangement. This would be the softest type of Brexit and whilst far less economically damaging than No Deal, would again run into the problem of pleasing neither remainers nor leavers. It is likely that many leave campaigners would find it even less acceptable than the PM's Deal given that so called 'Norway plus' would prevent an independent trade policy and see the continuation of free movement of people.

I think it is unlikely that the Commons will agree a compromise that the majority of MPs can support and I would only agree to back Norway Plus if the public were also given the opportunity to weigh up its risks and benefits and have the final say.

I am working with colleagues from Parties across both sides of the Commons to bring an amendment in support of a People's Vote.

I realise that Brexit remains a highly contentious issue and I hear passionate views from both sides of the argument.

I supported the government in the confidence vote on Wednesday and I do not think this lies in contradiction with my vote against the Brexit deal the day before. A general election will not resolve the single most contentious issue before us because these are never fought on a single issue.

I believe that a People's vote would allow us to move forward together with confidence that the nation had given its consent based on the facts and Brexit reality rather than unrealistic promises. It is now over two years since the original referendum, longer than the period between our two most recent general elections and it is nonsense fo some to suggest it is somehow anti democratic to allow people to change their minds and express a democratic opinion. I fully accept that the result could be the same but it would at least be a settled decision based on all the facts and we could finally move forward together rather than tearing ourselves apart.

40 comments

In a way Parliament currently reflects the confusion and disagreements within the electorate so in one sense it is being democratic. Given there are so many different views how many options would there be on a ballot paper in a People's vote? And would it be a simple majority again? We seem to be heading to a situation where there is no majority for any option and whatever happens now the public are a) losing faith in our politicians b) destined to be very unhappy and divided. All very sad.
- Howard

I agree with what you've said Sarah as I realise what a mess the country is in although I will find that I am so angry at conservatives for doing this to the country in the first place. This is without a doubt the result of money interfering with normal democracy and to think our parliament trundled along and accepted all this and now does nothing to investigate and repair its broken system scares the living daylights out of me. We need to agree on something that will not hurt the people or does the least damage possible. I'd prefer a peoples vote but the amount of money being thrown at leave from outside UK is already paying for a massive campaign against the EU and the lies are unbelievable, todays Telegraph saying remain have had ads campaign all the time in facebook paid by Soros is complete rubbish but no doubt leavers will believe it. If I could quite frankly I would leave UK now and go live in Europe a bigoted right wing Britain is not somewhere I ever imagined finding myself. Overall feeling though is anger at our government, in representing leave and declaring "the will of the people" rubbish it is feeding the decline. WE are the people too and right now we are the majority who wish to remain and not be hurt by this our children's futures are at stake here to. MP's telling untruths and not being called out for them, media continually spinning the truth and 90% percent of the press controlled by those who would do this is a nightmare which if allowed to go on will destroy our economy, set people against people in the country and will not end well. It is alright for all those who have their millions and sit their on the back benches spouting utter nonsense, but all of us ordinary people are feeling the results of this and I can assure you it is not pleasant. The EU has offered us peace, stability, safety, economic benefits and opportunities that previously was only available to the wealthy with freedom of movement. Together we are a force that matter in world politics and business. To turn on them in this way is horrid and frankly unacceptable. I think you are in the wrong party now, as the conservatives cannot survive this either way, people will never trust you again and if money can buy you all so easily you are not worth having as representatives in parliament anyway. This is not personal against you but many others in your party do have a lot to answer for. Mr Corbyn is another matter his beliefs have driven him to where he sits now uncomfortably on the fence, however how he ever came to be leader is for another time. I hope you and the sensible ones in all parties separate so we can get behind you all and sort the mess as well as we can. I shall however always be remain fully in EU because I believe in being together as one voice peacefully.
- Carolanne

Sir John Major in his article on 13th January last cites the need to revoke Article 50. I am in total agreement with that. It has to be a precursor. His article I feel is very well reasoned and shows a lot of wisdom. It should be widely read and considered, especially by our MP who needs the desperate help we all need right now.
- David Burrell

As well as being dishonest, Wollaston is just not bright enough to be an MP. Witness this line at the start of her incoherent post: "...the reality was always going to be that compromises and trade offs would be necessary during negotiations. Brexit reality is very far from the sunlit uplands promised during the campaign". The first sentence is literally contradicted by the second sentence. If there were always going to be "trade offs", then when people made their choice, they were not voting for "the sunny uplands promised". They made a choice in the knowledge "that compromises and trade offs would be necessary". Unless she is suggesting that the people did not know this. In which case, if she believes that the little people were too stupid to make such a decision, why did she support the government in offering a referendum and promise to respect the outcome? Remainers lost because their case was and is incoherent. Now they claim May's deal is bad, but in the same breath say "there is no such thing as a good Brexit". Thus we have to stay in the EU. Then why did they support having a referendum? Because they (the political establishment) thought they could trick and intimidate the little people into voting the way of the establishment...and when the little people didn't follow the government funded propaganda, they simply didn't know what to do. Now the elite claim..."well, we tried, but it's not possible...sorry!". when in really they didn't try to get a good deal, and worked from the day after the referendum to make the process as difficult as possible. Almost the definition of political sabotage. Then they claim "abuse", because some people (having watched our political elite try to rob them of their democratic choice) yell nasty stuff at some of the worst culprits. Well if the political elite think that such a transparently stupid attempt to dupe the people will wash, and continue to thwart the choice made by the British people in June 2016, history tells us that it ends badly for them. It's two years since the last "People's Vote" in Totnes, and circumstances have obviously changed. Sarah should resign her seat, follow her heart to the Lib Dems, and allow the people of Totnes to give "informed consent" to her continuing as our MP.
- George, Paignton

Sorry, in my comment I meant PM, not MP - however, here is a quote from Sir John’s article: I would therefore suggest that, while there remains no consensus in parliament about how best to proceed, the government should, without delay: ● Ask parliament to rescind the European Union (Withdrawal) Act; ● Withdraw the article 50 notification; ● Establish a national consultation process; ● Agree “headline” points on our future relationship with the EU and put that outcome to a binding referendum, with the option of maintaining the status quo. The binding nature of this should be enforced by the confirmation from each party leader that the outcome of this further referendum would be definitive. Only this will provide voters with the facts and reassurance they need to reach a final decision on where best our country’s future — and their own personal future — lies.
- David Burrell

It is perfectly reasonable for the people to have the final say via a 2nd referendum, and it must not be denied, if we are to start healing division. And George from Paignton, attacking personalities is the gutter end of argument. It's not helpful. There are rumours of another GE...how come we can have a another GE, but a second referendum is denied? Blows the "will of the people nonsense" that's for sure. I've attach a quote from the Washington Post recording how low we have fallen. "Brexit has been a catastrophic political failure. This messy, unpopular deal, the most unpopular government policy that anybody can remember, was produced by a political class that turned out to be ignorant — about Europe, Europeans, trade arrangements, institutions — and arrogant, disdaining knowledge and expertise. It was the work of leaders who favoured identity politics over economics, who preferred an undefined notion of “sovereignty” to the real institutions that gave Britain influence and power, who believed in fantasies and scorned reality." Anne Applebaum. Washington Post
- richard

I think Sarah Wollaston has made her position clear and what a shabby one it is. Smoke and mirrors, muddying the waters and weasel words are her forte. The fact that Parliament cannot agree to proceed with Brexit in no way justifies another referendum until the first is implemented. It suggests that Parliament has a majority of Remainers trying various ways to subvert a result they disagree with. The people of this country understand the meaning of 'fair play' and won't be fooled by such disgraceful behaviour. Parliament voted overwhelmingly to leave on 29th March with either a deal or on WTO terms, now a stalement has been engineered in an attempt to reverse the people's decision. Unless the result is respected I believe the Conservatives will lose the next election with Remainer MPs voted out and jolly good to. Time to send in our letters to Totnes Conservative Assoc. asking for a trustworthy candidate !
- John

John, I merely suggested that her constant flip-flopping on this issue (remember that for most of the campaign she WAS a Brexiteer) and regular. It is not the gutter to suggest that Wollaston is dishonest, lacks judgement and lacks intelligence...it's evident for all to see. "How come we can have a another GE, but a second referendum is denied". That would be because we have not left the EU yet you see? The logic of your argument would be that we should have a another General Election before a government could actually take office. As for Anne Applebaum...well not really the honest impartial international arbiter you portray her as is she? She is the wife of Radoslaw Sikorski. He is a former candidate for the post of EU High Representative and well known Brussels sycophant...he obviously aspires to higher political office with the Brussels kleptocracy, and his wife is doing an excellent job of peddling their line. Usually with the EU, you really just have to join the dots to see what the connection is to the gravy train. No wonder no trusts the mainstream media and our political establishment, when so many of them have their snouts in the trough.
- George, Paignton

George you are obviously losing the arguments when you have to resort to personal insults against Dr Wollaston. We know your opinions and can see through them. What we need to do now is to find a way out of this mess that Cameron dropped us into. Just being rude won't help at all.
- Bob

Bob, the mess is a result of the majority of Parliament being Remainers who are trying to subvert the democratic process by various means ! I voted Leave: Having negotiated with the EU at Commission level and have a relative in a senior position; I am left with the inescapable view that the EU is a corrupt, self serving organization. The EU will not be happy until parity is achieved between the pieces of land formerly known as nations. If that requires reducing the UK economy to the level of states recovering from years behind the Iron Curtain, then that is what they will attempt !
- John

Bob, the argument finished for most people on 23 June 2016. You haven't addressed any point I have ever made in correspondence with you, so you are not so much losing an argument as avoiding it on the grounds you are out of your depth. I won't respond to you again because you never make any sensible or relevant point.
- George, Paignton

If the argument finished in 2016 why are we still having it now. The PM's deal was voted down. The commons is split. The country is split. The tory party is split. I will say it again, we need to find a way out of this mess. No deal will be a disaster, if we try to fight with the big boys in the WTO playground we will get thrashed. Our services sector will suffer ( Look at Rees Mogg - he has opened a Dublin office to keep his access to the EU. There is a vote of confidence in the future) Where do we go from here? I will say it again, if the brexiteers are so confident of their position, why not confirm it with another vote?
- Bob

I really do not know how to reply or whether I should try! Your dramatisations - crash out, chaotic, apparent reliance on hearsay, end to austerity, etc. - demonstrate a tremendous lack of thought. And your patronising remarks about comfortably off leaders of the Leave campaign are beyond the pale when one reads that the current Leave lobbying, being organised by the likes of Mandelson and Roland Rudd, is funded by no less than George Soros. If you are so convinced about the damage a clean Brexit will do, which is what you so stridently claim, where is your supporting analysis? I spent an hour or so recently listening to Hilary Benn’s EUExit Select Committee putting questions to Chris Heaton-Morris, Minister responsible for no-deal preparations. His evidence as to our preparedness for the short term issues that might arise with a whole range of EU goods, perishable foodstuffs, pharma supplies, etc., was most reassuring. It is worth noting the relevance of Mr Heaton-Morris’s background. Before politics including a spell as an MEP, he ran a family business at Covent Market importing perishable foods from around the world including from the EU. He foresees few no-deal problems beyond a short period of adjustment. Elsewhere it is easy enough to access official reports indicating arrangements are in place for other no-deal issues that must be addressed – Euratom, airline over-flights, etc. As to your suggestion that a so-called people’s vote should involve just two questions: remain or the May deal that Parliament overwhelmingly voted down? Well who would accept that as a fair proposition, who would not see through that sort of gerrymandering? The Conservative manifesto that you presumably supported in 2017 ruled out joining the single market and customs union, which rules out a Norway type solution, which essentially rules out anything softer than Mrs May’s deal, which in turn has been rejected by Parliament. So what was wrong with the proposals offered up by David Davis, that Michel Barnier was reported to have been working toward - based on a free trade agreement such as the one signed with Canada. You should consider very, very carefully the consequences of a re-run: the horrendous ructions in the event of a slim Remain 51:49 win - a real possibility - polling continues to show opinion is as divided as it has always been. Everyone favours a good trade deal but few political union. Take a step back and think how the two separate issues of UK’s relationship with Europe, trade and sovereignty have developed. In the 60s the cry was for the UK to modernise: we were being left behind in the wake of the post-war US funded German economic miracle. Membership of the EEC trading bloc was the answer. But there were many Labour and Conservative voices warning that loss of sovereignty would be the eventual outcome. For most EU countries memories of invasion, atrocity and dictatorship are recent and raw. To prevent a return of such instability they have been increasingly ready to hand over national sovereignty to a relatively benign centralising, but in the British experience, authoritarian power. Mikhail Gorbachev went as far as to say the EU is simply the old Soviet Union dressed in Western clothes. De Gaulle said membership of the EEC would be difficult for the UK, we have always been reluctant to sign up to anything beyond a trade deal, we got Euro and Schengen opt outs. Cameron failed on immigration and proposed a two-speed Europe. For centuries, unlike mainland Europeans, we British have enjoyed the unbroken benefits of being a sovereign people - up until the recent, difficult decades that is. All Brexiteers want is a good trade deal. Reluctant Remainers want the same but worry about the mechanics of leaving. Together they make up a big majority for bringing back control. Parliament does not get this and wants to retrieve sovereignty from the people, abdicate and return control to Europe. What we need is a Parliament which represents and is able to implement the clear will of the people.
- Stephen, Totnes

Very well put Stephen – clearly researched and well written. Your first sentence sums up my exasperation with the situation – I have been shouted down on more than one occasion for not listening but I, like you, do take the time to understand what lies behind the headlines. A story in the BBC no less (hardly biased towards the Leave argument) that people may be interested in - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-46908205. For me, this is not an economic argument (although I do not buy into the crash out, chaotic, end of life as we know it rhetoric) but one of where our future lies. Remain is not the status quo as some people would argue – the EU is on a course for ‘Ever Closer Union’ – fiscal, political, military etc. – and, if you believe the report above, primarily driven by France and Germany. Do we climb on board all-in and follow along or do we seek to free ourselves to choose our own direction?
- Patrick, Brixham

EXTRAORDINARY THAT THE LEAVERS CANNOT THINK BUT REPEAT NONSENSE NON FACTS. IF WE MAKE OUR PAPERWORK LIKE OTHER MEMBERS IN THE EU WE GET EASIER MOVEMENT OF PEOPLE, GOODS, VEHICLES AND SAVE £46BN PER YEAR ON PAPERWORK IN THE PROCESS. IS GEORGE OF PAIGNTON AND HIS ILLITERATE RUBBISH EVEN IN THE CONSTITUENCY. FACTORIES ARE CLOSING, EUROPEANS ARE LEAVING, CROPS ROTTING, TOURISTS GONE. PRICES SHOT UP, SIZES DOWN. WAKEY WAKEY. INTELLIGENCE MUST PREVAIL, NOT THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE. EACH SHOULD DECIDE THEIR OWN FUTURE, WHICH THE EU GIVES US AND PRISON UK DOES NOT. RICHARD'S WASHINGTON POST AND CAROLANNE ARE TO BE READ AND INWARDLY DIGESTED.
- SIV WHITE

I am sick to death of the antics of remainer MPs who are deliberately taking every opportunity to wreck our chances of leaving the EU on acceptable terms. Leave means just that, it does NOT mean remaining in a customs union! Those warning of serious electoral consequences if Brexit is hijacked are right to do so. I am no extremist and I am certainly not a racist either, but if the leave vote is not respected I cannot see myself voting for any of the mainstream political parties again. Those working in the political bubble of Westminster and London have no idea how angry ordinary voters like me are getting. Please stop being obstructive and start being constructive, even at this late stage. It will make such a difference . . .
- David H

Sarah Wollaston continues to undermine our party in an attempt thwart the Referendum vote. Could we please have another election for a Conservative MP for Totnes, as clearly we 'did not know what we were voting for'. In the meantime suggest e-mails to the local association voicing our displeasure with the person we elected.
- John

A people's vote is simply a democratic-sounding phrase for requesting a choice between a non-existent or rejected EU agreement and staying in that manipulative organisation. Hardly a fair choice! Woolly thinking! Sadly, influential remainers dismiss the real option with emotive words like catastrophe and cliff-edge - instead of fairly discussing the pros and cons of WTO which we co-founded and UK and EU are members. You are wrong about the poor being worse off - price of basics like food, clothing, textiles can actually fall after Brexit, not rise, by becoming independent and reducing our tariffs. Just read the assessment by lawyers and ex-judges which followed the forced publication of the government's legal advice. It's conclusion? The positive advantages of leaving the EU without a trade agreement and without a withdrawal or transition agreement are enormous. Given the lack of EU cooperation, it is the only way forward which fulfills the decision of the British people to leave the EU. It hands back control and it leads to huge economic benefits. https://lawyersforbritain.org/leaving-the-eu-on-wto-terms-pulling-down-the-barriers-to-world-trade
- David Hopkins

The Prime Minister on Monday repeatedly made the point, that without agreeing her deal, trying to extend the Article 50 period only delays a ‘No Deal’ and needs agreement of all the other EU members, but revoking Article 50 doesn’t need that and prevents a ‘No Deal’ implementation. Parliament can discuss that via Amendments to her neutral motion next week. I was just wondering whether you think she was confident that no-one would be bold enough to do that and hence was able to float the idea more than once?
- DTR

A no-deal outcome would be so appalling for the Brixham fishing community, and yet the only real way of preventing this as we run out of time is to table an amendment for an agreement to revoke Article 50, and yet I understand you have had to pull your amendment to extend the period, due to lack of support. It seems tragic that our fishermen could lose their livelihoods because so much of their trade with the EU would be blocked by headstrong French fishermen retaliating against the loss of their fishing in our waters. Not the rosy future our guys thought they were voting for. They have been mislead, but the only way to stop it immediately is to revoke Article 50, but no-one is bold enough to do that.
- DTR

DTR- As independent coastal state, the UK will have the opportunity to move towards a fairer share of fishing opportunities - overhauling the current system where UK fishermen have received a poor deal that is based on fishing patterns from the 1970s. EU Member States currently land around eight times as much fish in UK waters than the UK does in EU Member States’ waters. The UK proposes a suite of measures to improve the sustainability of the fishing industry, supporting the next generation of fishermen while protecting our precious marine environment. Prime Minister Theresa May said: As an island nation our fishing industry is the lifeblood of coastal communities around the UK. I have been clear that when we leave the EU we will take back control of our waters. The plans set out today demonstrate the bright future in store as we build a UK fishing industry for future generations.
- John

Having read an article in New Statesman about the pros and cons of a no deal exit's impact on fishing ( https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/economy/2018/09/end-black-gold-how-no-deal-brexit-could-backfire-britain-s-fishermen ) and noting that such a respected local authority such as Jim Portus is highlighting the potential problems with exporting fish to the Continent, I do wonder whether things can really improve in that scenario. The bit about lack of patrol vessels also raises the question of how much the government really wants to take control of uK waters anyway!
- Francis South Brent

Clueless fickle woman. We had the arguments BEFORE the referendum. In fact REMAIN told most of the lies.
- Stu

I suppose it's too much to expect that Sarah Wollaston will not vote in a way that frustrates the 2016 Democratic Peoples Referendum. At least she could do the decent thing and abstain or resign !
- John

Dr Wollaston. You have tweeted about Sir James Dyson saying that he will go offshore. You may not have noticed but he paid £176m in taxes according to the Sunday Times. Also you are factually incorrect as what he is doing is setting up Interlectual Propert Rights (IP) in Singapore in relation to a venture to build electric cars for the Asian markets especially China. That is massively expensive and will require enormous investment most of which will come from the Far East. His IP for vacuum cleaners will remain in UK incurring UK tax. Also he is opening a College in Hullavington to build on his dream of creating more engineers for the UK. Leaving the EU still not change anything for his Company - remember most of the World trade is not European. Only 10% of global GDP. I think an apology is in order. At least try not to become as bad as other remainders and Brexiteers who are resorting to arguments better left in the playground. Be nice to have a few politicians who actually understand business and inport/exports. Try talking with James Dyson and you may learn something. Guess it won't change your mind but it may at least get you to see the realities on international trade.
- Andy

And so it continues. I was naive enough to think that this big push to remove ‘No Deal’ option was just because politicians had no idea how to negotiate – i.e. just when we are starting to see a little movement in some of the EU position, they want to remove our main (only real) bargaining chip! But then I realised, this has nothing to do with removing ‘No Deal’ but everything to do with stopping us leaving the EU. Just as the ‘Peoples Vote’ is nothing to do with democracy but everything to do with staying in the EU. Not surprised that you can’t get support for the ‘Peoples Vote’ – even politicians are realising that if you ask again (with a ‘fair’ question) the margin to leave could be even greater – no wonder you can’t get support for this. Stop the democratically voted for will of the people if you wish – but don’t be surprised at the consequences to the make-up of our Parliament in the years to come!
- Patrick, Brixham

No one can quantify Brexit or no Brexit as the future is unquantifiable and to continue suggesting otherwise is ridiculous. The future paths that we individually or collectively choose to travel will bring us to different futures. One and all will never know the outcome of a future unchosen as this path will never be known to anyone. This is the dilemma we face individually and collectively and no one can promise a certain outcome of any unknown paths that may be chosen. Therefore to Brexit or not to Brexit remains guesswork as both paths have potential to be fraught with difficulties,both paths could equally prove beneficial to the country. Who knows these answers?No one. And he who says he knows is a snake, a confidence trickster.
- Derek

True Derek, but we can at least see the direction in which the EU is going. Last week Junker said we must remove nation states in favour of a federation ! Sarah Wollaston has been in overdrive with 'project fear' and as you say, cannot actually lnow. Now that a second referendum is less likely it will be interesting to see what tricks she gets up to. Thanks to her, Soubrey, Grieve etc the Government have been hamstrung, contributing to the present difficult situation. What will it take for her to jump ship before being pushed ?
- John

Just received this from Government today. SW clearly does not respect the referendum result and democracy and will do anything to try and reverse the result. The Government’s policy is not to revoke the Article 50 notice. The British people gave a clear instruction to leave and we are delivering on that instruction. In 2016, almost three quarters of the electorate took part in the referendum and 17.4 million people voted to leave the European Union. This is the highest number of votes cast for anything in UK electoral history and the biggest democratic mandate for a course of action ever directed at any UK Government. In 2017’s General Election, over 80% of people then also voted for parties committing to respect the result of the referendum - it was the stated policy of both major parties that the decision of the people would be respected. The Government is clear that it is now its duty to implement the will expressed by the electorate in the referendum. The British people must be able to trust in its Government both to effect their will, and to deliver the best outcome for them. As the Prime Minister has said: “This is about more than the decision to leave the EU; it is about whether the public can trust their politicians to put in place the decision they took.” We recognise that to do otherwise would be to undermine the decision of the British people, and to disrespect the powerful democratic values of this country and this Government. To revoke the Article 50 notice would go against the referendum result and is not a course of action the Government feels we should take. The Government continues to be committed to delivering on the instruction given to us by the British people; working to overcome the challenges and seize the opportunities this brings to deliver an outcome which betters the lives of British people - whether they voted to Leave or to Remain. In doing so, we will honour the mandate of the British people and leave the European Union in a way which benefits every part of our United Kingdom and every citizen of our country. Whilst we note the judgment in the recent Wightman litigation, the Government's policy is not to revoke the Article 50 notice. Department for Exiting the European Union
- Fred Paignton

First trick of SW is a 10 minute bill, certain to fail. Please do the decent thing, resign, stand as an Independant; we deserve another 'Totnes People's Vote'.
- John

PS. Just seen Sarah on the Politics program. If the Conservative party follows a Brexit course she disagrees with, she'll resign the whip and stand as an Independent at the next election. I have to ask, why wait ?
- John

John and others here. What do you make of having to Bribe the DUP to support her views and today learn TM wants to offer extra payments ( read Bribes - as that is what it is ) to Labour constituencies to ensure the6 vote for her Deal . Is bribery not illegal , and made illegal by the Tories . A party i used to vote for before they ripped the guts out of our self respect and effectively spat in the face of our neighbours . Surely these bribes are not only illegal but unecessary . I alos question whether 17 miloin of the whole country is genuinely sufficinet to wreak a country . Do you fear a Second , more genuinely informed Referendum ?
- G david

Thank you for your continuing tenacious efforts to apply some critical thinking to Brexit, and for reaching out across the party devide to try and prevent no-deal’. The sight of 317 MPs waving order papers and cheering the utterly meaningless Brady-Malthouse amendment, and then abrogating responsibility by voting down the Cooper-Grieve amendment must have been a bitter disappointment. For me it was one of the low points of a dismal 2 years in which 40 or 50 Brexit fanatics seem determined to lead the country to sever all connections to the EU, wharever the cost to Ireland, the Union, or the Economy, and then in the same breath talk about a wide-ranging FTA. It is surreal to think that a 52-48 in-out referendum 2 years ago gives licence for this utter shambles, and it is depressing that so many MPs are acting like so many rabbits frozen in the headlights. As a country we seem to have lost a sense of proportion. Please don’t give up, although there will undoubtedly be critics, there are many who hope like me that you continue your efforts on our behalf with like-minded colleagues to reverse a chaotic Brexit.
- Bob

G david & Bob, I`ll try to answer you both. No I don`t like any form of bribery. Nor do I like people engaging in a democratic system, losing, then spending over 2 years griping and doing their best to subvert a necessary process. Like it or not we have a majority wins system, keeping to the result is essential in a democracy. Remember that the People and the Queen are Sovereign, not Parliament who are given an administrative roll for 5 years only; any change in the Constitution has to be assented by the People, Parliament doesn`t have that power. It`s because of this that we see MPs trying to frustrate the Will of the People by devious means. We don`t know how things will pan out, too much scaremongering and disinformation. Do not confuse the EU with Europe, the EU makes nothing, sells nothing, just taxes and issues directives. The EU is, I believe, a corrupt, self serving organisation that runs a protectionist racket ! The EU makes it clear that it wants to see the end of Sovereign states, replaced by a Federal system, with an army, unified taxation etc etc. Remember that our Common Law is supreme and does not allow transfer of any governance to a foreign power; if this is done by a statute it is illegal under Common Law. Common Law trumps Statutes, if this were changed we would be in a dictatorship, Hitler tried it !
- John

John, I'm no lawyer but I don't see where the bit about the people and the Queen being sovereign comes from. There isn't a single codified constitution as such but rather a number of sources of laws including Parliament as well as common law but Parliament has the ultimate right to change the law, any law, as it stands. That makes Parliament sovereign by the look of it.
- Francis South brent

Francis: suggest you learn about The British Constitution in relation to Common Law. Parliament can make Acts but not change Common Law; that's why they are Acts of Parliament rather than Laws of Parliament. Politicians would have you believe otherwise for convenience but their power is limited. If you're hauled up in court for breaking an Act and a jury finds you not guilty, the Act fails, the People decide what is acceptable. also Judges are non political and protect the People from despots ! That's just for starters, check it out.
- John

Sorry John, your take on common law doesn't stack up. All the references I look at make clear that common law is the set of laws that have evolved through the years largely through judicial rulings in court cases (= case law). The judicial decision is arrived at through looking at the current precedents set by case law and any Acts of Parliament that apply to the situation. If an Act specifically says something that counters previous precedent then that determines the decision for that case and case law changes as a result. If things didn't work that way we would still have slavery, children working down mines etc.
- Francis South Brent

Francis- read the rest !
- John

FRED it is only the highest number because of population growth. The percentage turning out for general elections in the post war period was higher. As it is the majority, now they have seen the reality, want to remain. More young people have signed up to vote and their choice would reverse the decision if we were allowed to have a confirmatory referendum.
- Ian Bridgwater

Good constituency MP. But not a democrat. The people voted and she has denied their wishes. I was a remained who voted to stay with a heavy heart. But once it was leave me you have to go with the vote. I'm guessing she has never worked in an environment when you go with the majority even if you haven't agreed. She should have and stayed from within the Conservative Party. But I'm guessing she is not really a Conservative Party member at heart. Good luck at the next election. Bye or otherwise as you will lose. As a parting comment: I wouldn't vote UKIP or a Cornyn Labour for that matter if my life depended upon it. The is no purple momentum. Just Conservatives who a tad dissappointed. Good luck back as a medical professional. We need them.
- Andy

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09 JAN 2019

Brexit Amendment

Over the past couple of days I have supported a series of amendments to try to reduce the risk of the U.K. crashing out of the EU on March 29th with No Deal. The Government must stop introducing deliberate delays and instead make serious plans for what happens if the Prime Minister's Deal is rejected. As there have been no changes to the legal text of the Withdrawal Agreement, rejection looks to be near certain and we do not have the luxury of time on our side with just 79 days to go until Brexit.

Yesterday I voted for an amendment that will prevent the Government implementing the "no deal" provisions of The Withdrawal Act without the explicit consent of Parliament.

In essence, this was about Parliament making it clear to Government that there is no majority for No Deal. That message was highlighted further during a cross Party meeting between the Prime Minister and over 200 MPs after we had written to set out our deep concerns about the damaging effect of No Deal on individuals, businesses and communities.

Today I supported a further amendment in order to reduce the timeframe for Government to return with its proposals about what should happen next if the Deal is voted down next week. The Government will now have 3 days rather than 21 days to respond.

This matters because of the very serious consequences that would follow if we left the EU in a chaotic manner and the increasing risk of that happening as a result of running out of time for any alternatives.

A majority of MPs won't support No Deal because of both the immediate and longer term damage this would inflict on our economy. The government's own forecasts predict that growth over the next 15 years without a deal would be 9.3% lower than it would otherwise have been on current terms.

WTO rules are not the panacea that some claim, British exports to the EU would be hit by tariffs of around £6bn. The cost of Imports would also be affected, increasing the cost of living in the UK.

There would be serious disruption to complex supply chains hitting many of our key manufacturers and also creating delays to the supplies many products including diagnostic supplies and medicines which are crucial to patients who rely on NHS care. Stockpiling and other No Deal planning costs are already running into billions and the Government could and should prevent this waste by ruling out No Deal.

But the avoidable problems created by No Deal extend beyond this to the major disruption to networks of cooperation in vital areas such as policing, security, research and travel.

We would all be affected and whatever the rhetoric from those who argue for No Deal, Britain would be far poorer, weaker and more isolated. No responsible Government or MP could vote to knowingly and deliberately inflict this on the people they represent. I and many of my colleagues would resign the Conservative whip if it became the Party's stated policy objective.

It is also time for Government to stop presenting this as a simple binary choice between the Prime Minister's deal and No Deal. Parliament has shown and will continue to demonstrate that it is not prepared to accept that.

48 comments

Sarah thinks she knows better than the little people. I have been enlisting support of fellow Conservative Members in the constituency to organise for the deselection of Mrs Wollaston. From speaking with people on the ground, I can be fairly certain that she will not represent us for long. Either she will be deselected, or the seat will be lost. Looking forward to the next election to get an MP with integrity and intelligence.
- George, Paignton

More project fear from Sarah and her cronies, in the corner of the house. SW is failing to support her party and PM and her behaviour is disgraceful. Using the familiar phrase "crashing out" when she should be promoting immense "opportunities" afforded by Brexit. I`m pretty sure SW voted for the referendum but as the result did not go her way she is trying to reverse Brexit. I`m pretty sure SW also voted for the withdrawal bill which means the deal is WTO terms if no deal agreed with EU. If TM`s deal is rejected the other deal on the table is the default WTO deal which would suit us fine if only the back stabbing MP`s would get on and implement the will of the majority of the British people. I knew what I was voting for , not sure if SW has been so sure.
- Fred.

Well done Sarah. You are one of the true brave 17 Tory heroes on the Grieve amendment standing up for everyone. Allen, Boles, Clarke, Djanogly, Greening, Grieve, Gyimah, Johnson, Lee, Letwin, Mitchell, Morgan, Neill, Sandbach, Soubry, Vaizey, Wollaston. If the Tories want to remain the party of Government, our next PM will be from this group. If not, the Tories will be utterly hammered in the polls, and become a UKIP shell.
- Richard

Agree completely with George. She should be deselected from this constituency before the next election. I for one, a Conservative voter all my life, will NOT vote for her again. Her energies put into local issues are pathetic, compared to the time she has used making trouble for the PM and paving the way for Corbyn.
- Cindy

Clearly Sarah Wollaston does not understand her role in a representative democracy. After a Referendum and General Election where a simple 'Leave' was the result and her party stood on a manifesto of implementing the result, she had only 2 choices, support her party or abstain. Instead we hear weasel words and attempts to undermine a democratic vote and her party at every possible opportunity. Yes she is entitled to have personal views that conflict with the results but not to act as she has. Like the rest of us she had one vote, by doing so she accepts the result, even if she dislikes it; 'Losers Consent'. The honourable thing would be for her to resign, possibly too much to expect; count me in George.
- John

Thank you Sarah for your brave stance on this - I am heartened by your common sense in what is swiftly becoming a perilous situation for the nation. No one voted in the referendum for the deal the PM has negotiated and anyone with an eye on the younger generation and their futures will know that No Deal would be an insult to them. Well done for staying level headed and clear thinking and thank you for the work you are doing.
- Angus

John, you spout on about representative democracy, but you clearly do not understand what it means. I refer you to Edmund Burke's address to the electors of Bristol where he makes clear the difference between a representative and a delegate: "Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion." http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/v1ch13s7.html
- Andy

Thank you Sarah for pointing out the folly of leaving with no deal, and all the chaotic consequences that would follow - however we each voted in 2016, surely none of us voted to become poorer, nor did we vote for stockpiling medicines and food and wasting £m's on a ferry company with no ships. If that is an indicator of the Brexit dividend then it reveals the marked absence of planning and foresight with a whiff of corruption
- Sylvia

You have let us all down, what don't you get, I voted Conservative, not for you, you have gone against the Conservative Manifesto, your Constituents, the People of the UK, and DEMOCRACY. Do you agree with one of your gang of 12 Anna Soubry, who declared on the night of the Referendum result, that all the people who voted to leave were mis- guided and stupid? she said the Bank of England would be closed for business by the following Thursday, and catasrophe would ensue. Myself and my family, (not all Leave supporters!!) will support your deselection , we are Conservatives, Join Jeremy and Mo Molam
- peter paignton

Very good Andy, although "spouting on" would be giving your view too much credit. So in that case why did the Conservative Party of which Sarah is a nominal member offer a referendum on the subject, why did the government of the day bother 33 million to vote in the referendum, why did it spend a fortune on the campaign, why did it use its taxpayer-funded propaganda to promise a once in a generation opportunity, why did it promise to implement the people's will and why did the party for which Sarah stood promise to respect the referendum result and withdraw from the Customs Union and Single Market? As for your lecture on Burke...that's your democratic inspiration is it?! No wonder you love the EU. A man who claimed that electing a Head of State was "utterly destructive of the unity, peace and tranquillity of a nation". He added “The road to eminence, and power from obscure condition ought not to be made too easy, nor a thing of much course”. Yes the plebs must know their place! Good luck getting popular support for that thesis! As Tom Paine said, “Immortal power is not a human right, and therefore cannot be a right of parliament”.
- George, Paignton

Almost correct Andy but in this case the 'representatives' gave the decision to the people by way of a referendum. This was necessary as, under the British Constitution, Parliament alone cannot give up any sovereignty without the consent of the 'People'. In other cases a representative is morally bound to 'keep their word' if they were elected having made promises. In relation to Burke, do not confuse 'your opinion' with. 'their promise to you', many a dictator would be otherwise legitimised !
- John

WITH A DEGREE IN THIS I CAN HEARTILY CONCUR WITH SARAH'S COMMENTS AND AM GLAD SHE WILL RESIGN THE WHIP OF A PARTY HELL BENT ON THE DESTRUCTION OF THIS COUNTRY, OUR WAY OF LIFE AND OUR FREEDOMS TO MOVE OURSELVES AND VEHICLES TO RETIRE OR LIVE IN EUROPE IF WE WANT. THE GOVERNMENT HAS SPENT WELL OVER HALF A TRILLION POUNDS RESCUING US FROM THE REFERENDUM SO FAR SUBSIDISING FINANCE AND BUSINESS. YOU PAY. STAY SAFE, IN CONTROL AND KNOWING WHERE YOU ARE. UK GOV RESPONSIBLE FOR MOST UK TROUBLES NOT EU. GET EDUCATION.
- sIV WHITE

TO JOHN. YOU FORGET MAY LOST HER MAJORITY IN HER ELECTION FOR BREXIT SO IT WAS NOT A VOTE FOR LEAVE. UKIP LOST ALL ITS MPS SHOWING YET AGAIN IT WAS NOT LEAVE, WHICH WAS SEEN AS A FIASCO WITH NO FUTURE DIRECTION OR POLICY. TO CINDY, OK SHE VOTED MONEY OFF SICK AND DISABLED AND PENSIONERS BUT SHE IS MAKING UP FOR IT NOW PROTECTING US AND OUR RIGHTS. DO SOME SERIOUS READING OR WATCH PARLIAMENT TV WILL YOU. YOU HAVE BOTH HAD TWO YEARS TO LEARN SOMETHING.
- SIV WHITE

TO FRED. IF WE LEAVE WITH NO DEAL NO PLANE WITH A BRITISH PART LET ALONE A BRITISH PLANE WILL BE ALLOWED TO LAND IN EU BECUASE IT WILL NOT BE CERTIFIED, THEREFORE NOT INSURED. IRISH AND WELSH LAMB WILL COST 88* TARIFFS TO GO TO EU WHICH IS 94% OF THEIR MARKET. GOVT IS PLANNIN TO KILL THIRD OF ALL OUR SHEEP TO KEEP UP THE VALUE. IF WE LEAVE WITH DEAL YOU HAVE ONE YEAR BEFORE THAT KICKS IN IF MAY STILL HAVE DONE NOTHING. INSTEAD OF PRIMITIVE TRIBALISM TRY RECOGNISING OTHER PEOPLE'S GREATER KNOWLEDGE.
- SIV WHITE

GEORGE, YOU MAY BE AN OUT AND OUT FASCIST WANTING TO GO ON RAMPAGE BUT ACTUALLY IF SARAH STOOD AS INDEPENDENT IT WOULD MAKE HER MORE ATTRACTIVE AS ANY TORY WOULD BE TAINTED WITH BEING BLIND TO THE DISASTER OF BREXIT . PEOPLE NEED TO REALISE THEY ARE BEING HIJACKED BY FASCISM, NO MORE NO LESS. NOW CALLED POPULISM. LOSING OUR INFLUENCE AND TEAM MATES AND MASSIVE EU GRANTS WILL COST US DEAR. IN EU WE PAY NO EU TARIFFS WHICH ARE 4 X GREATER THAN OUR PAYMENT TO THEM. THEY BUILT OUR ROADS, HOSPITALS, PORTS, AIRPORTS, SCHOOLS, REPAIR OUR BREAKWATER AND CHANGE AND LISTEN WHEN WE ASK THEM. WE ARE ONE OF 27 DECIDING WHAT EU DIRECTION WILL BE. EU ONLY EMPLOY 420 PEOPLE, IT IS NOT A GOVERNMENT OR DICTATORSHIP. YOU VOTE THERE. THEY PUBLISH AND CONSULT WHAT THEY DO, NOT LIKE MAY. STOP MISLEADING THE INNOCCENT
- SIV WHITE

Siv...Caps Locks. Typing in capitals makes you seem like a lunatic. And that's before you even read the tripe you've written. If Sarah wants to stand as an Independent, that could happen tomorrow. She deceived the people of Totnes in 2017, including Tory Party members who worked hard for her, and pretended to support a manifesto she abhorred. She could be honest with everybody and accept that she is no longer a Tory. Resign the whip, resign the seat, and let the people of Totnes decide. She won't do that, because she knows she'd lose. The rest of your message is just a boring dimwitted rehash of the argument you made unsuccessfully in June 2016. You lost then, and after reading that again, no bloody wonder.
- George, Paignton

Shouting will not help. Aim here is to stop Corbryn becoming PM. As for the issues about BREXIT. As a man who voted Remain the issues raised by SIV WHITE are flawed purely because for example, air travel is covered by international agreements out with the EU. Also the German economy amongst others exports more to us then we to them. Scaremonging doesn't help. Can you imagine the effect on Spanish and French farmers if their exports to us were majorly disrupted? Spain has 40% youth unemployment! Also as a net contributor to the EU to a sum of 9 bn not sure what SIV White is on about. Those grants is just our money coming back to us minus the 9 bn. No the issue is the Referendum was lost but our politicians from all sides can't accept it. Cornyn being particularly deceitful as a Bennite leaver without Tony Ben's intelligence. The EU always punishes those who don't play the EU integration game. Even if we stay we will lose our rebate be subject to more tax integration and defence conformity. And having worked in Brussels the EU employs thousands on better expense allowances than we in NATO had. I voted Remain because I knew what would happen.Better an imperfect world. Now we are here it is too late. We cannot go back to the past. Our MP needs to understand that. I will be abstaining during the next election if Dr Wollaston remains as our MP. A shame really as she is good for the South Hams.
- Andy

Sarah - please Ignore George , he is from Paignton. I would be bitter as well in such circumstance. You would think that he could see that this country faces far bugger issues that the white baby boomer gripe of being in the EU
- Rob

Insulting people because of their views "that way madness lies". It is important that everyone sets out their opinions without reverting to rude or mocking taunts or asides. If you resort to verbal attacks you diminish your argument. This is anything but a simple argument. And remember right now the EU is suffering from attacks on many sides including from Italy, Poland, Hungary before we look at the issues around the rise of AfD in Germany. So their negotiating aim has always been to make the heretics suffer, while trying to fend off the issues in the East and rise of nationalism. As the Irish often say " I wouldn't be starting from here" is apt. We are in a mess and I suspect a no deal or extension to Article 50 are the only way forward. Realism is now needed rather than idealism.
- Andy

I agree with George, Sarah should quit the Tory party and and make room for someone who supports the result of the referendum. I have supported the Tory Party all my life but will not support Sarah at the next election. Scare mongering about a no deal won’t work. I worked in the EU prior to us joining and there were No problem flying to or moving between EU states. I would support a campaign to remove Sarah Wollaston as the representative of the South Hams constituency.
- David

This woman and her barmy ideas does NOT represent me or my family. We are all democrats here and expect the people's decision to be honoured. I've never voted for another party but in the absence of a satisfactory alternative I will abstain if Dr W and Mrs May are still in place.
- Michael

Democracy is not a one off. We have general elections regularly, the last one came 2 years after the one before. Lets have a public vote on the brexit deal. As the tory party can't agree if they like it or not, (or even if they like their leader) and the deal will get voted down, the someone has to make a decision. No deal will be a disaster and parliament will never allow it. Let the people take control (remember that slogan "take control") and wecan move on from there.
- Bob

Sarah, if you block the implementation of Brexit in any form, not only will I not vote for you again I will simply never vote again. All trust we had in our demicratic process will evaporate so there will be no point in voting
- Paul

If Conservative MP's such as you pitch Parliament against the people I'm afraid you mustn't be surprised at what happens. I for one shall work for any party that promises a clean Brexit and if that means holding my nose whilst voting UKIP so be it
- Oscar

It's clear that Sarah will most likely lose at the next General Election; after admittedly colluding with the opposition, should she not 'do the right thing' and resign the party whip now ?
- John

Sarah, I voted for you in last election so you could vote for me on Brexit but all you are doing is making a mess of it all. I live in Brixham and used to be a fisherman so I understand about being let down by our government and the European union. We have been fighting for a better deal for years but all that happens is more disappointment and regulation to make it harder for a hard working person to make a honest living, and you not supporting your own voters is disgraceful. Pete
- Pete

Dr Woolleston you are a disgrace. We in Devon voted Out of EU, and you were elected knowing this but you have gone back on your word and your parties manifesto just because you think you know better than anyone else. You are not the only one and the whole of the Members of parliament should be sacked and a new lot who do respect their constituents put in place. I have voted all my life as I feel that it’s right to have a say in this Wonderful Country’s future, but if you and the politicians who are laughably supposed to be there to represent the constituents disregard the Vote to LEAVE then I shall never vote again.
- Elizabeth Dowling

1) The people are sovereign - if you don't accept that then revolution will ensue and the streets will run red. 2) The people delegate their sovereignty to elected representatives who run the country using their own judgement. 3) If enough of us dislike their judgement then we can remove them at the next regular election. 4) Sometimes our representatives are either incapable of making an important decision or consider the issue so important that it must be referred back to the people. 5) Once the people decide according to the rules of the referral the representatives must implement the overall decision or resign. 6) Resigning triggers an election where the issue is effectively voted on again considering all the circumstances and all the views and promises of those standing for election. 7) A sufficient majority voted for leave. And then an election was called which produced a majority of candidates of all parties who either supported leave or who didn't but yet promised to carry out the decision of the first vote. Our sovereignty was thus maintained but if any fight against the first decision and its endorsement, those representatives will be responsible and will suffer the consequence mentioned in (1).
- Jean Xavier

Jean Xavier. In this case your no.6 is void as there is now a EU Withdrawel Act in place and has to be implemented by whoever is in power. (Unless a new Act is created, which would be against the ratified will of the people).
- John

With respect to all, may I share what I feel are Principles, upon which action must be based, that help us all recognise integrity. 1. A Majority of all those who chose to vote, voted Leave 2. As a Democrat I respect that "Majority", so I believe should all MPs. 3. My MP and those for whom others voted and now represent were elected on a Party Policy to "Leave", over 80 percent of the Electorate, if to Remain was your most important issue the Lib Dems were asking for your vote. 4. The date to Leave is set in law at 29th March 2019. 5. All MPs must now vote either on the deal that has taken 2 years to negotiate and which has the support of 27 united EU Members or if no cross Party compromise can be achieved, then with no agreement. Remember how many Labour MPs supported Heath's entry in the first place. For what it's worth I wrote to Sarah asking her to vehemently argue for a cross party negotiating team as we could all see this is not a Party issue it remains decision of the greatest National Interest. Finally, for Remainers like myself, we were actually always "In but Out" and I am sure we will end up "Out but In." All this has done is turn the Conservative Party Inside Out, and now Upside Down. Keep Smiling, and realise how privileged we are to be discussing this with out Bombs and Bullets....well thus far !
- Martin Beck

The referendum vote in 2016 was counted on district councils not parliamentary constituencies (see BBC election night coverage). Sarah's mandate cannot be based on her constituents as in a general election but as an approximate fit to for instance South Hams which in fact voted 52.9% to remain. That aside I'm not quite sure why people are so determined to leave despite the difficulty our 'best' politicians have experienced negotiating and obtaining a deal that pleases anyone. Maybe they didn't try hard enough or it might just be too difficult to extricate our economy from its intricate links with other countries in the time Article 50 allows. Or if a no deal Brexit Is the goal why has there been so little progress negotiating deals with non-EU economies? I think I'd prefer a backup plan if we leave without a deal personally and I don't see one emerging. Those who still fancy crashing out generally have the substantial resources to sustain themselves in the event our economy sees a dip (Jacob Rees Mogg for one) and may even be able to benefit. Or maybe it is just all 'Project Fear' but I'm not confident myself. I'd rather take time to take stock and change my mind if the facts change. Maybe now's the time to reflect on what's been achieved.i is it what the people who voted to leave wanted in 2016?
- Helen

Helen, your post is rather heavy on dodgy logic. In a democracy, where you have a vote amongst opposing views, you will always have disappointed losers. We survive by the losers accepting the result, by voting at all you agree to accept the outcome. The present situation is because Mrs May did not want to leave and was incapable of fulfilling her duty, clear from the fact that she was scheming to undermine her Brexit Minister. Leaving offers so many more opportunities for the country than remaining; within a couple of years it's likely that people will have forgotten they had wanted to remain. The world is comprised of optimists and pessimists, never be led by a pessimist; optimists are the ones that get the prizes !
- John

Thank you Sarah for being outspoken about the consequences of a no deal and for your support for the amendment. I am also encouraged by your support for a second referendum. I find it an affront that when we were given the vote for such a major constitutional change that a simple majority was considered sufficient, particularly when the consequences (good or bad) were very confusing, to say the least. It is interesting that a majority of 66% in favour is required when MPs vote for a General Election. Why were constituents not treated similarly in the referendum?
- Nic

"The noble one is not a mere instrument"– Confucius. Sarah, I believe you are showing that you are not just a cog in the machine. Though you may lose your current position, if you're doing what's right, it will be for the best in the end. To those who take grievance from her actions: We are all individuals here; nobody is forced to do what you want them to do. If you are unhappy with what they do, tell them calmly the reasons why and they will listen to you calmly. They are not necessarily trying to go against you; perhaps they are trying to do what they think is right and best in their situation. Maybe something they can see from their vantage point makes that course of action look better than it does from yours, and not just personal gain. I'm not saying that for instance a councillor is superior to a voter; but being directly involved in the political process she may see some things more clearly. Maybe her actions will unexpectedly turn out good for you. Even if Sarah didn't do what you wanted her to do, it doesn't mean she has something against you. You can assume that Sarah is out to get you, or out to gain something for herself, and get all worked up and angry, but I'm not sure how much good that does either of you or us as a whole. I'm sure she knows that people are suffering from the way things are; but to make a real and lasting change for the better can't necessarily happen in an instant, nor may the process take precisely the path you want it to. Maybe what seemed like a good step at one point in time, now doesn't seem like such a good step. This is not necessarily evidence of someone's intention turning against you, or evidence that they were against you all along; perhaps it is just them acting strategically, updating their course moment-by-moment, still aiming for the best result for all of us in the end. To those who say asking for a second referendum is going against democracy; if a first referendum is democracy, how is a second referendum not also democracy? Can the people not change their minds? Changing one's course mid-way in this case is not necessarily a sign of weakness or "flip-flopping"; it is a sign of flexibility and awareness. It is a sign of strength to admit that you were wrong. Some argue that having seen the result but being "sore losers", those in government made the whole process difficult just because of their soreness. Maybe there is some soreness there. But that wouldn't be the whole picture. The other side of the picture is that it is indeed difficult to do something like this well and cleanly. Maybe we need a breather. If the country still doesn't like the result, maybe we can have a third referendum :) more and more referendums means a better and better democracy, right? In any case, we can see that the whole issue is still controversial; so another referendum can be considered a refinement in the democratic process... I would like to ask if those who have such trust in democracy can trust it once again. Maybe the "will of the people" can change. Those who say "the losers have to accept the result", surely wouldn't object to "losing" a second referendum if the new, more informed, democratic will of the people changed from the last time? There are pros and cons. You can object that a second referendum is "forced", "sore losing". But you can also say that a second referendum benefits from having had time to reflect further on the matter. I hope that people can see the benefit of it.
- James

Many thanks Sarah for once again representing the best interests of the people of the UK and voting as you have. Now the quicker parliament puts in place what’s necessary to prevent a ‘No Deal’ exit the better for everyone. And then let the people decide - either Theresa Mays ‘Withdrawal Agreement’ or ‘Remain’ People can cast a vote based upon the facts and not on the nonsense articulated by Champions of Leave in the last referendum. Again, many thanks.
- Peter

Dr Wollaston, Peter and all who want a second referendum – I have absolutely no issue with a 'fair' referendum - I don’t think it would change anything and perhaps lead to even more division. However, the question suggested by Dr Wollaston and many of you for a ‘Peoples Vote’ – i.e. Remain or Mays (overwhelmingly rejected) Deal – is as far from right and democratic as I think it is possible to be. Where is the real Leave option? Why is Dr Wollaston and other ‘Peoples Vote’ supporters determined to not present this as an option? “….You can have a ‘Peoples Vote’ but you won’t have the option to really Leave…!” Those who support a second referendum do you really want a ‘Peoples Vote’? Or do you want to Remain in the EU at all costs? At least be honest about it – but please acknowledge that those who don’t wish to remain in the EU deserve an option to vote for if you have any belief at all in democracy.
- Patrick, Brixham

For the sake of Democracy , we need a second referendum . If there is anyone here or anywhere else who does not now realise we were lied to in the run up to the Referendum. How can we be proud of that ? We know so much more now . What would you have to lose to have another , but more informed referendum . This time , we are quite sure that Turkey is not going to join the EU and 700k wont come straight to the UK for benefits and the we know that the NHS wont get 350m Extra a week - but actually may not have the EU staff to look after us if we did opt out . If they do , it will be becasue we have opened more doors to non europeans ( i have no problem with that ). We know we will lose skilled people , who will go home . We know our mobile phone bills will be higher when we go on hols. We also know that the once strong London banking sector that paid x billions into the Treasury , wont pay those billions once its jobs have been fully exported to Paris , Frankfurt, Holland and other places . We know that WE will have to pay extra in tax to fill that gap ( or perhaps we have yet fewer services from government spending ) or perhaps we borrow more , at higher interest rates and and and . Come on , anyone who is sane knows this execise was a complete waste of time , money , energy . There are so many other things to worry about in life , why was this issue chosen. For the sake of sanity , another vote very soon and get on with it before we have to lay off even more staff .
- G David

Given that our MPs cannot support May’s Deal or No Deal, we need a second referendum. I think the ballot paper should be: Answer Question 1 and Question 2. For each question, vote by putting a cross in the box next to your choice. Question 1 Should the United Kingdom leave the European Union, or reverse its decision and remain a member of the European Union? Leave the European Union [ ] Remain a member of the European Union [ ] Question 2 If the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, should it exit under the terms of the deal agreed between the British Government and the European Union, or exit with no deal? Leave with the deal agreed between the UK and the EU [ ] Leave with no deal [ ]
- Tim

A lot of Remainers just repeating the same tired arguments they had before June 2016. You lost then and as time ticks on, you're losing now. Perhaps change the record. If it involves staying in the EU, I stopped listening two and a half years ago. The EU was always anti-democratic. Now it cheerleaders are showing themselves for anti-democratic bad losers. Happy to have another vote. But the people have already decided to Leave. They did not vote to "leave with a deal" or leave with any other caveat. Just Leave. So it has to happen one way or another. Remain could not be on the ballot paper for any other reason than the establishment don't like the view expressed by the people. Hard luck. The only question is what sort of Leave. So the choices would be Leave with May's deal, or leave without her deal. Her agreement is so bad that I suspect most would vote against it. In any case, unless the government proposes legislation and gets a majority of MPs to vote FOR something (and not just against), then we will leave on WTO terms in ten weeks. I'm fine with that.
- George, Paignton

Couldn't agree more George. It seems there's an abundance of people that agreed to participate in a vote with the intention of ignoring the result if it wasn't to their liking; bad faith. A democracy relies on good faith in these situations. Instead we see 'smoke & mirrors', 'muddying the waters', weasel words and worst of all the claim people didn't know enough. In a democracy, with any vote, you could claim that some didn't know enough. The Referendum was In or Out, with the promise that Government would implement the decision, this was then part of major party manifestos and then put in to law. The 'correct' path is to try to get a good deal, failing which we leave on WTO rules as embodied in law, yet we have politicians like Sarah Wollaston doing their best to subvert the people's will, claiming that they are representatives not delegates. On this issue they are delegates, change in sovereignty has to be put to the people under the Constitution ! Time to move on, if we don't like being outside the EU, we can rejoin.
- John

Why are some people so scared of another referendum? Is it that they think they might lose? If you are so convinced that we should leave, then man up and grow some. Take on the 48% and see what happens.
- bob

So resign and good riddance. Don’t forget we had a referendum because Cameron was afraid of UKIP. If you cheat us out of leaving, how much support do you suppose will flip back to to UKIP?
- John D

I have tried to engage with Dr Sarah and have come to the conclusion we need a second vote.. Clearly we did not know what we were voting for at the last election when Dr Sarah stood on a manifesto to leave, respecting the referendum result.. Anyone who supports their government in a vote of confidence, but will not support their negotiated position and calls for remain, pretending it is in the interest of the people to rerun the election, should resign the party and stand down so we have a choice who should represent us based on their actual beliefs rather than a lie.
- Giles, Paignton

Spot on Sarah. The true facts and catastrophic impacts of the no deal are now clear. The decision should now be taken to the people in the light of this. BREXIT cannot be delivered in the way that it was sold.
- Paul Church

First points. We have another vote. It is still leave. Will Parliament then implement Article 50? We need to go back to the EU hard and tgreaten the worse and negotiate from strength not weakness. To lose out to an EU President with an alcohol problem it beyond characature. Secondly. Every single government economic prediction on Brexit has been dramatically wrong. Currently we have third highest economic growth forecasts in the G7 according to the IMF. More people in work at anytime in my lifetime and inflation at 2.3% and wages growing at 3.4%. BREXIT post predictions predicted slump. So where to go? I have never seen anything like it from both sides of the argument. Thirdly, we need to come down the crisis talk. Win or lose - from whatever standpoint- the EU will punish us. Thirdly. Watch what is going on elsewhere in the EU. It's not good and tax harmonisation will be the straw that breaks the camel's back. Fourthly. Dr Wollaston needs to accept she is no longer a conservative even with a small c and resign the whip. Your tweets recently only confirm that fact.
- Andy

Seems an awful lot of fuss for what it costs to be in the EU, about £30 per year for the average taxpayer - check your latest notification from HMRC of tax paid if you don't believe me.
- Derek

Sarah as a life long conservative supporter may I thank you once again for all that you are doing to protect the best interests of this country - if you are ever deselected then not only will this constituency have lost a great MP but also my vote. Please keep up the great work and don’t waiver in the face of adversity.
- Peter (Kingsbridge)

Dear Sarah I am not one of your constituents but after reading so much negative venom from some who are I am writing to post a message of support for the brave stand you have taken. The longer this farce continues the clearer it becomes that both main parties are morally bankrupt and incapable of moving things forward in this country either on Brexit or on anything else. Good luck to you and every success to you and your moderate parliamentary colleagues to avoid a no deal Brexit.
- Larry

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07 JAN 2019

The NHS Long Term Plan

I welcome the NHS Long Term Plan, which is wide ranging and ambitious. It rightly celebrates the successes of the NHS but is realistic about the scale of the challenge to meet relentlessly rising demand and to improve services. It acknowledges the pressure on staff as a result of the workforce shortfall and the urgent need to upgrade facilities including digital resources.

It is one of the greatest triumphs of our age that we are living longer but more of us are living with complex and long term conditions and there are widening inequalities in the degree to which both young and old are living in poorer health. There also remains an unacceptable variation in outcomes and experiences for patients from one area to the next even where that cannot be accounted for by resources or local challenges.

The Plan sets a number of priorities such as making sure that a greater share of NHS resource goes to mental health, especially for children and young people as well as to GP and wider community services. It lays out a number of proposed improvements to major areas such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and respiratory disease as well as a welcome focus on children and young people.

I'm glad to see the Plan accept the recommendations of the Health and Social Care Committee on closer joined up working across the NHS. Not only to bring truly integrated services with social care but to break down unnecessary barriers between GPs and hospitals, and between mental and physical health. Some of these artificial barriers could be better cleared if there were changes to legislation, including to help reduce wasteful and bureaucratic competitive procurement rounds and to allow a greater priority for joint cooperative working rather than competition. The HSCC recommended that any legislative proposals should be designed by and come from those working in and alongside the NHS, rather than as top down proposals from government.

The success of the Plan will depend on having the NHS and Social Care workforce to deliver it and much will also depend on the Spending Review settlement ahead. The 3.4% average annual uplift for NHS England over the next 5 years does not include the public health grants which are central to prevention of ill health and reducing inequality, grants which this year are continuing to fall. Nor does the NHS settlement include the crucial funding for Health Education England which covers education, training and professional development.

The Plan also makes clear that it cannot deliver without a stable and realistic long term settlement for social care. The government's Social Care Green Paper is expected within weeks and it is not possible to fully assess the NHS Long Term Plan without also seeing the long term proposals, including the financial settlement, for social care.

Likewise for capital funding, which is also due to be announced in the Spending Review later this year, because this will underpin new facilities, technology and equipment as well as tackle a worrying maintenance backlog.

The Plan proposes to fund evidence-based NHS prevention programmes, including to cut smoking; to reduce obesity, doubling enrolment in the successful Type 2 NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme; to limit alcohol-related A&E admissions; and for the NHS to contribute to lowering air pollution for example. But for these to be successful there will also need to be cross government action with a willingness to be prepared to look at tackling health inequality and prevention in all areas of policy as these big issues cannot be properly tackled in isolation by the NHS.

In many ways the Plan mirrors themes and priorities that were also set out in the last long term plan, the 5 Year Forward View, many of which remain unfinished business. The last plan was undermined by the cuts to social care, public health, capital and training budgets and it is important not to see this repeated. It is also important to recognise the many important changes that did get underway and a number of successful pilots are highlighted as pointing the way ahead for what delivers better and more joined up health and care for patients. This new plan will be trying to make sure that the best care is delivered everywhere rather than as scattered examples of best practice and that Integrated Care Systems make sure that all parts of the wider health system are working together more effectively.

My view is that there will need to be access to the up-front resources to transform services in the same way as is often available to pilot projects for them to succeed, and to cover the double running costs that make sure that new facilities are in place before old services are dismantled. It is also important to allow time for changes to demonstrate an effect. In the short term new ways of working may even appear to increase costs but if in the longer term they help to prevent conditions worsening and reduce the need for more expensive treatments down the line that is in the best interests of individuals as well as reducing long term demand.

It is easy to end up talking about systems but all those tasked with delivering this ambitious Plan must above all keep the needs of patients, families and communities at the heart of everything they do.

8 comments

Our daughter's local hospital in London says it cannot hire new staff, and Europeans are moving back to the Mainland. It plans to open a branch hospital in Calais, which should work, but could you approach Ms May to ask that those ambulances be given priority on the ferries, to avoid the lorry park in Kent?
- Richard

Anything to help the NHS is a positive as it is a service for all. The staff always making every difficult situation work as best they can with the resources available to them. I do however have a question Sarah..We have thousands of GP Surgeries all over the UK with good facilities why do they shut at night if they were able to stay open it would take a lot of pressure from our overstretched Hospitals also working people would be able to see a Doctor without losing time off work it does seem a big waste of a perfectly good building not used to its full capabilities.
- S BRUUS

Thanks Sarah. I think your comments on social spending are very important. In answer to S Bruus, I am a retired GP and married to one still working. Keeping GP surgeries open seems attractive but for two problems. One is staffing - we could take doctors, nurses and administration staff from hospitals to work in GP Surgeries but that would defeat the object. The second is that GP Surgeries are not trained or equipped to deal with Accidents and Emergencies. A far better solution is to improve access to GP Surgeries during the day, and leave A&E work to the experts.
- Simon Lansdown

Further to my previous comment. All the NHS Doctors (GPs and Consultants) I know are highly stressed. Numerous are retiring at the earliest opportunity (many under age 60) and many are going off sick. Opening extra clinics etc will not solve the staffing crisis. I have heard that on Boxing Day this year, there was an out of hours GP service in a local Surgery. There was only one patient booked and for that one person there was a GP, a HCA, a Nurse and a Receptionist all being paid by the taxpayer. When I was a young GP I did evening surgeries and I worked from 8am until the last patient left (sometimes as often as 10 at night). I found that quite unbearable.
- Simon Lansdown

Wouldn't it be nice if this was the last NHS reorganisation for quite a few years. I started work in the NHS in 1972 and it was being reorganised then, and it seems that about every five years the politicians come along and have another good meddle with it. The Lansley reforms tore apart a system which worked well and wasted a shedload of cash in a move designed to prepare the NHS for privatisation. Now that is being chucked out as introducing competition hasn't worked. Please will the politicians stop treating the NHS as a political football.
- Bob

I THINK I WILL SPEW IF I READ OR HEAR THE MAYISMS "WIDE RANGING" AND "AMBITIOUS" AGAIN. WE ARE IN A TOTALITARIAN DICTATORSHIP OF ONE SIDE OR ANOTHER WHO HAVE DISMANTLED THE WELFARE STATE, MIXED IT WITH THE ENTERPRISE CULTURE (LAZY PEOPLE GETTING IN BETWEEN MAKER AND BUYER TO MAKE MONEY) . 30,000 PEOPLE DIE IN THIS COUNTRY EVERY WINTER FROM POVERTY. UNDER THATCHER IT WAS ONLY 5,000. VOTING £30 A WEEK OFF PENSIONS AND DISABILITY CREATES THAT, ALONG WITH PRIVATISING ELEC, GAS, TRAINS, HOSPITALS. NHS IS ONLY A COMMISSIONING BODY OF PRIVATE HOSPITAL TRUSTS AND CRAP GP SURGERIES NOW. GOING ABROAD OR INTERNET IS BETTER FOR YOUR HEALTH. WE CANNOT EVEN GET ANTIBIOTICS OR PAINKILLERS. BET YOUR GP GIVE THEMSELVES THEM STRAIGHT AWAY. TORIES OWE NHS £4BN 2016. EACH YEAR THEN NEED IT TO STAY PUT. SO TO PROMISE £24BN BY 2022 IS A JOKE. STAFF LEAVING DUE TO BREXIT. TORIES GO HOME.
- SIV WHITE

While welcoming the fine aspirations of the latest NHS long-term plan i’d Jlike to flag a fundamental issue that I identified in a recent MSc thesis for my Organisational Psychology degree. Very simply it is that none of the experienced frontline GPs I interviewed have any belief in either what they described as “Ivory Tower” national leadership. They are leaving in droves because they believe the BMA/RCGP & NHS England leadership are self interested, remote, out of touch and incapable of helping deliver what is needed. This was exemplified by none of them challenging the clear failures of the last 5 year plan “Forward View”, the lack of accountability, clear plans and oversight and the complete lack of interest in exciting local innovations that could become best practice. I’ve tried to raise this with the BMA
- Chris Jones

So tell me why did you lie to parliament over GC Math and as such 2000 people have now dieed due to your ineptness in this matter.... you are a GP nothing more, if you were you would have a phd after your name and you do not. You should be prossecuted for the crimes against humanity you have committed...
- John Carlsson

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19 DEC 2018

Brexit Update 9.30am

It is now just 100 days until we are due to leave the EU and businesses, public services and the Public Accounts Committee are again producing evidence and warnings that the UK is unprepared for the shock of a No Deal Brexit with no transition. Any talk of 'managed no deal' is no more than a dangerous delusion and no more reassuring than a 'managed' car crash. No responsible government could knowingly inflict this kind of pain on the people and I could not remain a member of the Conservative Party if they made that their main policy objective to deliver such a disastrous outcome. No one voted for economic, health and social problems on the scale that would be unleashed in the event of a chaotic exit at very short notice.

I will continue to campaign in Parliament for the people to have the opportunity to examine and give their own verdict on the Prime Minister's deal with an alternative option to remain.

Many people have asked what I would do if the result were the same and Britain voted to leave. The answer is straightforward, I would do all I could to make that work in the full knowledge that we would be going forward together as a nation with informed consent. It is not asking the people that undermines trust in democracy, rather it would be to blunder ahead with plans that neither please the 48% nor the majority of the loudest campaigners for Leave.

19 comments

To those who say that a second referendum would be undemocratic: then refer to definition of democracy. The people cannot betray the people. To those who say that it would be divisive: I doubt there has ever been a country more divided than we are now. And to those, like Mrs May herself, who say that we should all get behind her deal to unify the country?--why should we, it's a shoddy half backed deal that will do irreparable harm. May has had her narrow focus on immigration and ignored the views and concerns of the wider public, Scotland, the sciences, our manufacturing business and the service sector from the moment she took office. Bring on the second referendum. The only hope left is for the better UK that it might bring. And if it doesn't, so be it: then it will be crystal clear that the time has come to abandon this country.
- richard

'I would do all I could to make it work' says Sarah. Yet she has spent 2 years undermining her party in an attempt to not make it work. She should back the Referendum result so we can move forward together but she won't because she disagrees with the result. Her. Informed consent arguement is not only inaccurate but foolish, we cannot know what is ahead either in or out of the EU. We do know that for many years the EU has been undemocratic and corrupt, I doubt that it's about to change. Sarah has a low opinion of her countryfolk, I believe we can do better outside the EU than in; how about a bit of self belief Sarah !
- John

The more interesting question for Sarah would be "what would you do if the vote was to remain, and the situation changed again (as it surely will, as the EU moves towards ever closer union). Would we have another referendum to ensure that the choice of the British people is fully informed?". Surely the logic of her current argument would apply equally to another referendum. And indeed to further referenda endlessly because events always change. The bottom line is that people voted to leave. This was an instruction of the British people. A much more direct and clear instruction than even a general election. It should happen. If subsequently the people change their minds, then they should elect a government committed to a referendum and campaign to re-join the EU.
- George, Paignton

You are doing a fantastic job, stick to your principles! Government is putting its electorate in harms way and is using every strategy, including the blackmail of Parliament ( 'May's Way' or the Highway over 'Brexit Cliff') to secure the Prime Minister's inadequate deal. If it ever delivered on this foul threat it would create such chaos that our people would suffer for a generation. We are a representative Democracy and other MPs should reflect on their duty. Those who trumpet our taking back of Parliamentary sovereignty should reflect on that and step up to the plate. Delaying or revoking article 50 is going to be needed to buy time for a People's vote . 'Above all do no harm' was instilled in you as a Doctor and many of your Parliamentary colleagues on all sides of the house would do well to adopt this principle. To use your metaphor the consent form for the radical operation that was proposed in 2016 has, in the light of subsequent research, been revealed as most probably very dangerous to the health of the patient. Will Dr Parliament , deny Patient UK the chance to reconsider her consent and wheel her kicking and screaming into the operating theatre? This horror story cannot be allowed to materialise. Keep up the good work!
- Peter

Keep up the good work? Yes ignore people, tell them they made a mistake, overrule their wishes and tell them that doctor knows best...how to discredit the political system and the medical profession at the same time and give the far right the biggest boost ever.
- Steven Spence

Wheel the patient in! The doctor saying "no you made your decision back in 2016, you can't change your mind!" Two years ago the patient was only 52% sure an operation was required. She has been doing some independent research of her own every day since then and wants a chance to exercise her rights over her own body. She wants to decide for herself. No one is saying she made a mistake two years ago. The metaphor places Government in the role of a Doctor who didn't put the patient in a truly informed position. How can giving her a chance to exercise her choice be telling her she has made a mistake? That's why consent is an active process. If a doctor acted towards a patient in the way Government is acting towards the electorate it would be committing assault.
- Peter

Peter, now that you have exhausted that metaphor. Can you tell me one occasion when you or anyone else supporting a People's Vote has suggested that we have a referendum on any European issue before. Maastricht? The Euro? Amsterdam? Nice? Even the original EU Referendum? I suspect not. But now things are going against you, you are the biggest fan of referenda going. You want two votes on this issue, but were not prepared for one on any of the other issues. With all due respect, people see you and the entire People's Vote brigade for the charlatans they are.
- George, Paignton

George, We didn't have a referendum on Maastricht, The Euro, Amsterdam or Nice, because we live in a representative democracy where Parliament is sovereign. The problem now is that Parliament is incapable of making a decision on the the outcome of the referendum and as they turned some sovereignty to the people. The only way to make another decision is to ask the people again in another referendum.
- Simon

George, I'm not sure that metaphor it's exhausted. However to answer your question; I am not a fan of referenda at all, but a big fan of our British Representative Democracy. The whole thing is a disaster. Both Clement Attlee and Margaret Thatcher were highly suspicious of referenda (Thatcher referenced Attlee in a Lancaster House speech, she shared his view that referenda are 'alien to our Constitution and the tool of demagogs and dictators.') Remember that at the time of the 2016 referendum there was an overwhelming majority for Remain in Parliament. However once David Cameron was very cleverly out-manoeuvred by a small cabal of eurosceptic M.P.s ( looking no doubt to benefit from a post Brexit de-regulated Singapore style off-shore tax haven economy ) we were sunk. Inflict years of austerity on vast swathes of the electorate, then offer them a referendum and tell them if they vote Brexit they're going to have £350 million/ week for the NHS and an improvement in their prospects with no down sides and the result is not that surprising.. It's not looking so good now is it? If you think it is, you haven't been looking at the weight of evidence building against your analysis. Parliament, not the people, made a huge error in giving us the 2016 referendum, when as our representatives, they overwhelmingly viewed the EU as a net benefit to our people. Don't use 'with all due respect ' then show absolutely none, by name calling, you have thereby undermined your position. If a new referendum is called by our Parliamentary representatives, so be it, I'll exercise my democratic right and vote. Personally I'd prefer Parliament to exercise its true British Sovereignty and vote to revocate Article 50 but I can understand that a second referendum is likely to be its final preference.
- Peter

Mass hysteria everywhere! (Some) MPs running around like headless chickens clucking – “If we leave the EU Club without a deal, the world we end as we know and the sky will fall in! I have a cunning plan! The deal is rubbish – everyone knows this. But let’s offer them a referendum; no call it a ‘Peoples Vote’; that gives them the choice of the rubbish deal or to not leave at all – everyone will want to Remain!” My, my, what would our parents/grandparents/great grandparents who lived through real hardship and two world wars think of us now? Please get a grip – I can’t see the mass hysteria in the EU with the contingency plans they have put in place in the last few days – eminently sensible from their perspective. Let’s get our contingency plans in place and continue to talk. If we can’t agree before we leave, let’s reciprocate where necessary and implement our plans, but carry on talking. It is in the long term interest of all to come to an agreement – anyone in business knows this! Anyone who has negotiated a complex business deal knows this! Now, Dr Wollaston and your fellow MPs, cut out the hysterical nonsense, act more like the responsible adults you are and carry out the express wishes of the electorate which you originally agreed to do so and signed up to with your manifesto. If you and your fellow elected MPs are unable to do this – please move aside for someone who can.
- Patrick, Brixham

Parliament has made a decision. Surprised you hadn't noticed. It has passed primary legislation that we will leave the EU at 11pm on 29 March 2019. I'm looking forward to that. Unless it passes contrary primary legislation, then that is what will happen. The inability to act on a simple instruction from the people would indicate that our parliament represents only itself, and not the people. That would be a strange sort of representative democracy. History suggests that parliaments that act contrary to the views of the people they purport to represent rarely live happily every after. The greatest danger to this country is not some phantom warning about the economic consequences of national independence. It is the threat to our democracy from a political elite who do not give tuppence for the clearly expressed view of the British people.
- George, Paignton

It's important to remember that under the British Constitution Parliament cannot embark on surrendering or changing sovereignty without going to the people, ie. A Referendum.
- John

George and Patrick. I can tell you have strong views. I can suggest a reading from Mathew 13:9 "He who has ears let him hear". Please don't try to deny others the opportunity to express their view on their future via a referendum.
- richard

Richard, quite right. Please don't try to deny others the implementation of a referendum result after they have expressed their view on their future ! Once implemented by all means go for another referendum if it starts to go bottom up, otherwise eat humble pie.
- John

Richard – vary condescending and may I say, quite insulting comment – my views have been very factual and I have not insulted anyone and have full respect for your views. I have listened to all the arguments (and I mean all arguments) including the latest story in the respected Irish Examiner newspaper about the Irish backstop – look it up if you’re interested although it may not fit in with your view of where we are! My last comment may have been a bit flippant – but can anyone not see the irony of whole situation? I am a traditional Tory voter – my main fear is that the Tory party will be wiped out if they continue down the current path – perhaps that is the agenda of some of the Remain supporters. I am tired of being insulted as a thick, old brexiteer whose views are wrong! If Remain had won the referendum. I would have accepted the view of the majority and moved on. As I have said many times before, I have no problem with another referendum – but please present a fair one – not the one our MP is advocating i.e. a discredited deal no one wants v Remain or even the option of a referendum that will split the leave vote between 2 Leave options v 1 Remain option. This is the first time I have ever added comments to any blog or political discussion – and probably will be my last. All I ask in a forum such as this is facts – please keep on posting factual information which I do read and it may help to persuade me to change my mind – rather than telling me I don’t listen!
- Patrick, Brixham

Let there be peace. Come the new year peace will reign across the land and Parliament will resume and recognise this peace and in recognising this peace will vote favourably for Brexit and achieve a magnificent outcome that recognises the people's vote of '16 . This will bring further peace and goodwill into the distant future and the country will live happily without outside interference. I see further peace being achieved in the next general election when we the people exercise our democratic process and elect an entirely different set of parliamentarians and progress further with our new unified and refreshed government. May the peace reign long and long may the future parliamentarians desist from hypocrisy. Who called me a stupid woman?
- Derek

Very good Richard. I'm lot altogether sure that the Gospel of Matthew was suggesting that government should hold endless referenda and postpone any action until you are satisfied with the result. Your freedom of speech is protected with rights guaranteed long before 1973. And when you seek to use a governing elite to frustrate the clearly expressed view of the British people, I have the same right to hold you in contempt.
- George, Paignton

No one can quantify Brexit or no Brexit as the future is unquantifiable and to continue suggesting otherwise is ridiculous. The future paths that we individually or collectively choose to travel will bring us to different futures. One and all will never know the outcome of a future unchosen as this path will never be known to anyone. This is the dilemma we face individually and collectively and no one can promise a certain outcome of any unknown paths that may be chosen. Therefore to Brexit or not to Brexit remains guesswork as both paths have potential to be fraught with difficulties,both paths could equally prove beneficial to the country. Who knows these answers?No one. And he who says he knows is a snake, a confidence trickster.
- Derek

The current withdrawal agreement cannot and must not be accepted by Parliament. Our country and it's people deserve better than that! As for 'Plan B' there are only two options that fulfill the mandate delivered by the referendum vote: 1. Canada Plus, Plus, or 2. WTO (or No Deal as Remainers like to call it) These are the only options that result in us LEAVING the EU and being completely free to pursue lucrative new free trade deals around the world e.g. US, Asia-Pacific, India, Australia and New Zealand. THIS is where the real Brexit dividend can be found, NOT tying ourselves to the sinking ship of the EU.
- David H

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13 DEC 2018

Brexit Update 8.45am

Last night's confidence vote has clearly demonstrated that there is no majority in the Conservative Party in the Commons, let alone across Parliament, for the hard Brexiteer's vision of Brexit. I supported the PM in last night's vote. The inescapable truth is that the Withdrawal Agreement and Future Framework will not pass the Commons either but it is the only realistic negotiated version of Brexit. We have reached deadlock and sooner or later the PM will have to take her deal direct to the people or risk us crashing out in a chaotic Brexit with inadequate transition arrangements in place. Britain is woefully unprepared for that and no responsible government could allow that to happen.

This whole episode was unwelcome and unnecessary but at least we will all be spared the weekly threats of the '48' letters for at least a year and the PM should now stop trying to appease the right wing of the Party.

32 comments

Wholly and completely agree. Coming from someone who would rather a full leave or remain choice. Too many people on here protecting their personal view at all cists rather than what is good for the country and miilions of YOUNGER generation who will be deeply affected by thus. Why are some so desperate to avoid a 2nd referendum? What are you worried about?
- David R

We voted for Brexit, not Brino ( Brexit in name only) and that's why so called Brexiteers are angry. The referendum result could not be clearer. What we have now is a disfunctional parliament full of remain voting MPs that are refusing to deliver what people have democratically voted for. When this is all finally sorted out we need a root and branch reform of parliament as it is clearly not fit for purpose. This is a democracy that is no longer democratic.
- David H

More weasel words Sarah. Brexit is Brexit as stated at the Referendum, neither soft or hard. The fact that MPs will not honour their pledge in the manifesto or their duty to the electorate does not justify their actions; it shows a disconnect.
- John

Parliament is full of people who realise the brexit will make us poorer and that no deal will make us a lot poorer. I don't blame them for trying to prevent this. As is plain from the events of the last few days, the hard brexiters have no loyalty to anything except their own ideology. Ask yourself what this very rich club want to gain from brexit. The removal of regulation for environmental, food safety, workers protection. The fact that millions of peoples jobs depend upon the free movement of goods across EU borders means nothing to them.
- Bob

When May steps aside, the next leader elected by the membership will be a Brexiteer. The 48 are well placed to control the future. Sarah you should join the Lib Dems. You'll feel more at home there.
- George, Paignton

So the member for the 18th century will control the future! He will have to find it first
- Bob

The Luddite Dad's Army buffoons were seen off in fine style. May cannot now be challenged for a year. If she has any forethought, intelligence, or nouse ( which I doubt) she should change direction, sweep out the deadwood in her cabinet like Fox and Loathsome, and bring in some younger blood. She could do this now before her deal comes back to the Commons. To reach out and get anybody decent on board she would have to commit to a 2nd referendum. To deny us a 2nd referendum is a denial of democracy and justice. Meanwhile she could loose a confidence vote, as the Members have lost confidence in her ability to govern, her authority has utterly evaporated and the ERG group are fuming.
- Richard

Yes Richard, leaving the silly name calling aside, she could do all you suggest. I suppose this would show some degree of strength I guess. However, judging by the comments on the blogs on this page, this is likely to consign the Tory Party (or possibly Parties as over a third voted against the leader) to the wilderness for many years to come leaving a Corbyn Government. It could be worse, I guess – not sure how! I just can’t understand how a second referendum will change anything – unless everyone suddenly ‘sees the light’, converts and decides they want to Remain. How likely is that? Here’s a novel idea – why can’t we all just get behind the original referendum and get on with it wherever that might lead! Once the uncertainty is removed, we can all get on with making it work and business can get on with doing business!
- Patrick, Brixham

I am not against a second referendum - bearing in mind the number of people who must have been misled by the campaign on the red bus, it seems the right thing to do. However, if we are going to go ahead with Brexit, the big problem seems to be the Irish border. I have heard lots of talk about following the Norway model, but no one has mentioned Switzerland. As far as I know the Swiss border is fairly 'soft'. Would this be a model to follow?
- Jeremy

It doesn't need everyone to see the light, don't forget leave won by quite a small margin. Polls are already suggesting that a referendum run today would give remain the edge. Why else are the leavers so scared of another vote. Cameron only called the referendum to stop the exodus of tory voters to ukip and to stop the party losing power. He never wanted it, and never expected to lose.
- Bob

As I previously said - So, we have a ‘Peoples Vote’ and Remain win by say 52 to 48%. Now we have nearly half of the electorate feeling cut off and ignored. What do they do? They can no longer vote for their current MP who they will see as failing them. So in this vacuum, the electorate turns to the extreme (left or right) to protest – there are already parties here in the UK looking to exploit this. This is the lesson from history. Let's say Leave wins - then how will the be any more accepted than the last time? Not scared of another vote (even though the question may be set to ensure we get the correct answer) - just sure that it won't actually change anything and worried of where it will lead and the impact on democracy.
- Patrick, Brixham

The 48% feel cut off and ignored now. I can see that some people will be tempted by extremists, but most people in this country struggle to get out to vote anyway. Even the referendum turnout was only about 70%, so almost 13,000,000 couldn't be bothered. The % who voted leave was about 37 The main argument for another vote is to set a way forward. May's deal, no deal, some other sort of deal or remain with the deal we have now.
- Bob

Bob you lost. The referendum was a clear choice and the minority were not going to get their choice. You would not have given a damn for Leavers if the public had voted Remain. Now I'm expected to care for your views? Cry me a river. The turnout was anybody eligible who could be bothered to vote. You have no idea of the views of those who did not vote, just as you have no idea of the views of people too young to vote. You won't be getting another vote so get over it and stop your moaning.
- George, Paignton

So, now it is time to do what we voted for and leave the EU. I voted and expected parliament to work together to deliver, after all both main parties stood on a manifesto to leave. It is not my fault you did not work to leave with treaties to enable a smooth transition.. Your fault as a politician, not mine for voting as I have wanted to for all my adult life in the only vote where my vote actually counted.
- Giles, Paignton

George. With due respect, at the last referendum there was widespread deceit and outright lies. The bigger the whopper the more it was believed. The Leave side produced no prospectus. Now we have the prospectus and voters can make an informed judgement. And why deny the people the right to change their minds? May was elected Leader 2 years ago, but the ERG group called an election as they changed their minds. The duped DUP have changed their minds. Why can't the opportunity be offered to the electorate in a referendum? Sarah is absolutely correct. You will thank her in the end for having the courage to stand up for her beliefs.
- Richard

Remain told lies about plans for common European Foreign and Defence policy. All political campaigns have lies. That's part of the deal. You have to judge their credibility and decide. People did. You lost. As for a prospectus. Well they weren't the government. How would you propose they enacted their prospectus. In terms of change. The only person who has changed their mind in these two years is May. Read the Lancaster House Speech and then look at current policy. The ERG and the DUP have been entirely consistent. May has broken clear promises, and it's right that 2/3 of the non-payroll Tory MPs declared no confidence. If she had any pride she'd have gone to the Queen. The people do of course have the right to change their minds, as they changed their minds after 1975. Get a political party to promise a referendum in their manifesto, win a majority, put a vote to the people and win a majority. Good luck with that, it took Leave 41 years. I'm sure British people will be queueing up for Schengen, the Euro and a federal Europe(!). The only thanks Wollaston will get from me is being deselected.
- George, Paignton

One final question on the “Peoples Vote”. Maybe someone can answer this – maybe even our MP? Can someone please, please tell me how it is democratic to have a referendum with the 2 questions as advocated by our MP (if you haven’t read the piece on PoliticsHome that Dr Wollaston wrote and tweeted about yesterday, please do – it is very illuminating) – i.e. “…take her (i.e. Mrs Mays) deal direct to the people with the simple question, is this the Brexit you voted for or would you rather remain?”. The deal has clearly been dismissed as a real option and will be voted down in Parliament (including by our MP) should the vote happen. Why present this option to the People? This is exactly why I don’t trust a second referendum – where is the real Leave option? Read on in the piece mentioned above – we have Conservative MP looking to the Labour Front Bench for support. If I had wanted Labour to be driving this, I would have voted Labour. Oh to have a true Conservative MP to represent true Tory values. I give up with Politics and will just get back to running my business!
- Patrick, Brixham

Patrick, in a democracy you have to put your faith in Joe Public. Joe is actually quite astute and wouldn't be dumb enough to vote Leave again, now knowing the full consequences. Hence the Brexiteers resistance to another vote, and that includes Corbyn. And the youth will show up to vote this time. I would expect a very high turnout, and a substantial majority to stay. (in Quebec turnout for the 2nd referendum in 1995 was 93%)
- Richard

The conservative party needs to unite in the face of total disrespect and aggression from the EU. They are exploiting the disunity caused by remainers and unless the Goverment is prepared to walk away there will not be any change in the backstop that everyone hates and insists on changing. The EU MUST be given an ultimatum asap. It is the current withdrawal deal, minus the backstop, or no deal and a WTO trading relationship until a future trade deal is agreed. Given the weak state of the the EU and the French and German economies it is blatantly obvious they would HAVE to accept the need for change as they would LOSE a guaranteed £39 billion pounds from the UK causing an even greater rise in membership costs. Come on British polititians, even at this late hour it is time to unite in the NATIONAL INTEREST instead of pursuing your own selfish wishes and desires.
- David H

Richard. I agree partly with your points but you kind of missed my main point entirely. Yes – given the options I outlined above and advocated by our MP, of course Remain will win because there is no real alternative. Given a real choice (Leave or Stay), I still believe it will be very close and could go either way and won’t really solve anything – but our politicians are not going to let that happen again are they? By the way, I don't believe Leave voters were "dumb" the first time or for that matter the Remain voters - people on both sides have their own reasons/beliefs for voting the way they did and I respect this entirely.
- Patrick, Brixham

Ok then George, what should we do about leaving the EU May's deal or no deal?
- Bob

I am quite happy to cooperate with the states of Europe who are our neighbours. That they do not have the guts to leave the EU Kleptocracy is a genuine sadness for me when I respect their cultures so much. I doubt that there is much to be agreed with the EU and the Commission, which are thoroughly nasty and undemocratic institutions bent on punishing the people of the UK for having the audacity to vote to leave. I would offer a comprehensive trade deal along the lines of the Canada deal. No payments to the EU. No role for ECJ, which is a foreign court and can never overrule our own courts if we are to be a free nation. No backstop which is an affront for any democratic and free nation. The UK will be asserting control over its border like any other free nation. Leaving the panoply of EU apparatus was implicit in the people's decision to leave the EU. We should negotiate a sensible arrangement with the Irish Republic to deal with our common land border...a relationship not based on the current threats from the ROI and the EU27. If these terms are not acceptable to Juncker, Tusk and Barnier...and given that they are determined to punish the UK Versailles-style "pour encourager les autres", I realise that it is unacceptable...then we leave on WTO terms, the same terms that happily govern 60% and rising of our global trade with the other 93% of the world's people.
- George, Paignton

There are two criticisms of “the only realistic negotiated version of Brexit”. First, it is tendentious & absurd, to say the least, to describe May’s WA as “realistic”, not least because Dr Wollaston herself concedes it will not pass Parliament. Her position is contradictory. It cannot be a “realistic” Brexit when so many, even in a remain-heavy HoC, will not give it time of day. Second, “negotiated”? Really? Theresa May might be the world’s worst negotiator, certainly at the level of Prime Ministership of a leading nation. In 2016 she scurried off to Brussels, rolled over, and offered £39 billion without conditions – thereby breaching one of negotiation’s fundamental rules. She is naïve, starry-eyed, weak, gauche and thoroughly hopeless, someone over-promoted way beyond her level of competence in a fit of madness by the shambolic Tory Party. I wouldn’t hire Mrs May to negotiate the purchase of a s/h car. Disappointing to see so many tired clichés trotted out here in the comments, e.g. assertions that “Brexit will make us poorer” suggest complete ignorance of England’s having existed 1000 years or so, mostly with very great success and becoming one of the wealthiest (for a while THE wealthiest) countries on earth, long before the EEC/EU was dreamed of – and a dismal pessimism about our national qualities, proven time and again. “Luddite Dad's Army buffoons” is all too typical of the crass smears levelled by people apparently unaware of the contradiction in their cleaving to a centralised, heavily bureaucratic, undemocratic, protectionist E with a sclerotic economy – Tim Wallace in the DT Business section Friday: “Growth in the eurozone has almost completely disappeared as businesses reported the weakest expansion in four years…The influential purchasing managers’ index (PMI) survey of businesses slid to 51.3 for the eurozone, 52.2 in Germany and 49.3 in France….growth will barely recover from the disappointing 0.2pc expansion in GDP in the third quarter of the year, and could worsen into 2019…The surveys point to quarterly GDP growth momentum slipping closer to 0.1pc in December alone…that demand growth is stalling, adding to downside risks to the immediate outlook.” And let’s not mention the ECB/Euro, re especially Greece and Italy… I am deeply disappointed with Dr Wollaston - as, I gather, are more than a few people in her constituency.
- Tony, Totnes

Do you really think that all that can be done by the end of March? No deal then and all the chaos that will come with it.
- Bob

Yes we were the richest nation on Earth. But we did it by making the majority of the people work themselves to death in terrible conditions. Hang on a mo, that's what the brexiteers want isn't it.
- Bob

"Do you really think that all that can be done by the end of March? No deal then and all the chaos that will come with it". It certainly won't be done by the end of March next year. It might have been difficult to do even if we'd pursued a proper negotiating strategy, not the kind of doom laden timidity that seems to chime with so much of your sentiments. I doubt the EU is the kind of organisation that lets countries walk away without trying to cripple it. As JRM said after the vote, do we really want to be forced to stay as a member of a club just because they threaten to kneecap you if you leave. And we don't accept that No Deal means chaos. It is convenient for you and so much of the establishment to argue such a thing, since it reinforced your view. But such points were made before the vote in 2016. One Treasury estimate said that 500k jobs would go even if we VOTED to leave. That was shortly before UK unemployment hit a 45 year low. The truth is that people didn't believe these lies then and they don't believe them now. People advocating a second vote just show themselves for bad losers and deserve to be ignored or ridiculed.
- George, Paignton

Yes let's ridicule those looking for a second referendum. A certain Boris Johnson did just that in 2016. A point about UK unemployment being at it's 45 year low. If you have a job on a fixed hours contract that gives you 30 MINUTES work a week then you are counted to be employed. Talk about massaging the data. Now JRM may be able to survive on 2 hours pay per month, but a worker at Toyota in Derby wouldn't. As for chaos, if it will all be fine, why is the government looking to charter planes to fly medication into the country. And for your information, I am not a bad loser, but I do want to see my country continue to prosper which it has quite well since we joined the EU. Remember our name in the 1970's - The sick man of Europe
- Bob

To those that don't read the Guardian there is an excellent piece written by Andrew Rawnsley on the deadly state of British politics https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/dec/16/failed-by-both-major-parties-betrayed-britain-lurches-towards-the-abyss
- Richard

Bob, I can't argue for ever with you on this subject (mainly because the British people have already made a judgement on all the issues we are discussing), so this will be my last reply. 1 Facts. According to the ONS, only 1.4% of people in the UK classed as employed work six or fewer hours a week. Many because they want to work light hours. This figure is lower than the year 2000 (1.8%). There has been no explosion in this form of employment, contrary to arguments regularly made in the media. Your attempt to "massage data" to pretend that the EU is good for job is apparent for all to see. 2 I cannot say why our government is doing anything. They bewilder me. I suspect they are planning for No Deal, and certainly hope they are. Would you advocate they shouldn't bother? So the EU is going to stop selling us drugs? Really? How would that even work? Presumably we can purchase whatever we choose. I think you are working off assumptions that the UK would choose to impose tariffs and checks on EU products at 11pm on 29 March. Won't happen. We'll buy whatever we need. This argument is a fairly transparent attempt to scare people. Such tactics failed in June 2016...why would you think they work now? 3 Your description of the UK in the 1970s. Couldn't agree more. The UK remained an economic basket case until the early 1980, when Margaret Thatcher's supply side reforms bore fruit. Our economic rise has little to do with our trade with Europe. In any case, during our EEC/EC/EU membership, global tariffs have fallen and continue to fall. Why can't you just accept that people voted to Leave the EU, and that they were not stupid or misguided? Given that 52% voted Leave because they felt ignored by the political class, how do you think such an attitude helps resolve this basic and fundamental problem? If the political class treat the British public with such contempt on this issue and thwart the choice made by them, they'll have a lot more to worry about than trade dislocation. This issue is now more important than our relationship with the declining and failing EU. It is about whether the British people have the right to make their own decisions. We'll wait and see with interest. Regards.
- George, Paignton

George – some excellent points there – I wasn’t going to comment further either but I saw this information which I thought might add some balance to the scare stories – it is a long but very informative read – see https://brexitcentral.com/plea-pm-leave-supporting-businessperson-stop-scare-stories-embrace-sovereign-brexit/ Also, @sarahwollaston Tweet 17/12 – “What undermines democracy is to push through a deal which is hated by both the 48% who didn’t want to leave & the loudest campaigners for Leave. Clearly no majority.” Contrast this with the previously mentioned PoliticsHome story by the same “could and should take her deal direct to the people with the simple question, is this the Brexit you voted for or would you rather remain with the deal we already have?” As I said before, how is democracy served by having an option which was defeated in the first referendum and another (as our MP has pointed about above) has already been dismissed by the majority whilst at the same time having no true ‘Leave’ option which was carried by the majority in the first referendum?
- Patrick, Brixham

Another important News story to add some balance to the argument - https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-to-remain-in-common-transit-convention-after-brexit - can't think why the BBC etc. haven't picked up on this?
- Patrick, Brixham

We’ve reached the point where only four diagnoses are now left. The prime minister is in a delusional, psychotic state and is in urgent need of help. Or the prime minister is focused purely on her own short-term survival: even she can’t be so far gone as to believe she has a long-term future. Or the prime minister is a sleeper agent for a hostile government committed to the destruction of the UK. Or the prime minister is totally incompetent. John Gace 18h Dec 2018 Guardian
- Richard

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12 DEC 2018

Today's Vote 3.30pm

I will be backing Theresa May in this evening's confidence vote. I hope that the ERG will finally be shown for what they are, a small and unrepresentative faction pushing for a version of Brexit that has no chance of passing the Conservative Party let alone the House of Commons. It was irresponsible and self-indulgent for a few individuals to be pushing their own leadership ambitions at such a time of national crisis and particularly to have done so whilst our Prime Minister was meeting EU leaders abroad.

No one should doubt Theresa May's personal integrity and sense of duty and the contrast with those scheming to take her place could not be in sharper relief. Whilst I continue to hope that the PM will move to take her deal direct to the people, I have great personal respect for her determined efforts to try to find a compromise through the Withdrawal Agreement and Future Framework.

I hope we will now be spared the ERG posturing for a while as, following an unsuccessful leadership challenge, there cannot be another for 12 months.

17 comments

Although I personally do not think that we should have another vote. Thank you for your clear statement. I hope that you are one of many and that the Prime minister is recognised for her integrity as stated and has a clear majority supporting her this evening
- Hazel Howe

What a joke! Sarah has undermined Theresa May at every opportunity during the withdrawal negotitations and no wishes to support her. Your stance is somewhat hypocritical Sarah and is only designed to thwart the efforts of those genuinely honouring the referendum result. Your support is shallow to say the least.
- David H

So in the midst of the most important negotiations in our lifetime the ERG and followers have lobbed a grenade into the tory party. Now there's loyalty to the country for you. I don't like the deal we have waited two years for, but all the ERG can offer is chaos. No wonder John Major called his anti EU mob B*****ds!
- Bob

If you are going to support our PM, then really support her. Enough of this ‘Peoples Vote’. I do have doubts about some aspects of the deal but if you support her, then do it fully. Please get on with honouring the manifesto on the basis of which you were elected. I would also say that you may be surprised at the size of the support in the country for this “small and unrepresentative faction” as you put it judging by the comments on these recent blogs and how this support will grow if Brexit is thwarted.
- Patrick, Brixham

We are in a pickle, no doubt about it. Ms May's government had to be dragged though the Supreme Court for Parliament to trigger Article 50. May resisted a meaningful vote in Parliament, and it only just squeaked through (thanks to Sarah and others). She’s trying to deny the public a referendum on the facts, and now she's denied Parliament a vote on her doggy deal. But she'll all we have. The ERG group are a bunch of Dad's Army fanatics. So Sarah is correct. it's a complete shambles, we are laughing stock, and the last thing we need now is a Tory Leadership election. But May needs to compromise and offer the people a vote on her deal. She's a lame duck leader now.
- Richard

Sarah, I hope you continue to campaign for a people’s Vote. It is the only democratic way forward with the government not functioning and destroying itself with its political infighting. Never before has democracy been so important. The first referendum should never have been taken as a final say, it should have been purely advisory. Also, it was so close that the result should not have been followed on such an important issue which will affect us permanently for the rest of the future. Those nasty self interested hard ERG Brexiteers have no interest in democracy or the interests of the people, many of whom already struggle to make ends meet, and I hope that they are voted down tonight . I’m not a fan of May, but the alternative is worse! Please know that you have lots of support. Helen (member of Devon for Europe)
- Helen Petit

These are not my original ideas but the 40 reasons below come from the Conservative website. Can you Sarah counter the reasons why we should honour the people’s vote already cast. I’m certain your constituents who you should represent, will not support your change of views so I would ask you again to change back to your original position of wanting to leave. Listen to your constituents....please. Free movement will come to an end, once and for all, with the introduction of a new skills-based immigration system. We will take back full control of our money which we will be able to spend on our priorities such as the NHS. We will leave EU regional funding programmes – with the UK deciding how we spend this money in the future. The jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in the UK will end. In the future we will make our own laws in our own Parliaments and Assemblies in Westminster, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast. We will leave the Common Agricultural Policy. We will leave the Common Fisheries Policy and become an independent coastal state again, with control over our waters. We will be able to strike trade deals with other countries around the world. Deals can be negotiated and ratified during the implementation period and put in place straight afterwards. We will be an independent voice for free trade on the global stage, speaking for ourselves at the World Trade Organisation, for the first time in decades. We will be freed from the EU’s political commitment to ever closer union. We will be out of the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights, recognising the UK’s long track record in protecting human rights. A fair settlement of our financial obligations, which will be less than half what was originally predicted. Both the one million UK citizens living in the EU and the three million EU citizens living in the UK will have their rights legally guaranteed so they can carry on living their lives as before. We will have a free trade area with the EU, with no tariffs, fees, charges or quantative restrictions across all sectors, helping to protect UK jobs. We will be the only major economy with such a relationship with the EU. We’ve agreed with the EU that we will be as ambitious as possible in easing the movement of goods between the UK and the EU as part of our free trade area. We will have an implementation period after we leave the EU during which trade will continue much as it does now. This will allow Government, businesses and citizens time to prepare for our new relationship. The deal will see a greater reduction in barriers to trade in services than in any previous trade deal. There will be an agreement that means UK citizens can practice their profession in the EU. A comprehensive deal that secures access to the EU market for our financial services sector meaning the EU cannot withdraw it on a whim. This will provide stability and certainty for the industry. A best in class agreement on digital, helping to facilitate e-commerce and reduce unjustified barriers to trade by electronic means. We have agreed that there will be arrangements that will let data continue to flow freely, vital across our economy and for our shared security. Trade arrangements for gas and electricity will help to ease pressure on prices and keep supply secure. Strong rules will be in place to keep trade fair, so neither the UK nor EU can unfairly subsidise their industries against the other. We will have a comprehensive Air Transport Agreement and comparable access for freight operators, buses and coaches. We have agreed that there will be arrangements so we can take part in EU programmes like Horizon and Erasmus. There will be a co-operation agreement with Euratom, covering all the key areas where we want to collaborate. Visa-free travel to the EU for holidays and business trips will continue. Our new security partnership will mean sharing of data like DNA, passenger records and fingerprints to fight crime and terrorism, going beyond any previous agreement the EU has made with a third country. Our new security partnership will enable the efficient and swift surrender of suspected and wanted criminals. Close co-operation for our police forces and other law enforcement bodies. We will continue to work together on sanctions against those who violate international rules. We will work together on cyber-security threats and support international efforts to prevent money laundering and the financing of terrorism. Disputes between the UK and the EU on the agreement will be settled by an independent arbitrator, ensuring a fair outcome. We will meet our commitment to ensure that there is no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland. We will keep the Common Travel Area between the United Kingdom and Ireland, ensuring everyday life continues as now. We will keep the Single Electricity Market between Northern Ireland and Ireland, which will help maintain a stable energy supply and keep prices down in Northern Ireland. Both sides will be legally committed, by the Withdrawal Agreement, to use “best endeavours” to get the future relationship in place by the end of the implementation period, helping to ensure the backstop is never used. An agreement to consider alternative arrangements to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland, including all facilitative arrangements and technologies, and to begin preparatory work on this before we leave the EU, reflecting shared determination to replace the backstop. In the unlikely event we do have to use the backstop, a UK-wide customs area will ensure there is no customs border in the Irish Sea. Gibraltar’s British sovereignty will be protected. The deal delivers on the referendum result. It takes back control of our money, borders and laws whilst protecting jobs, security and the integrity of the United Kingdom.
- Mike Freeman

I agree with David H. Sarah Wollaston, in her capacity as MP for Totnes, has been disloyal to the party and its leadership on too many occasions for anyone to think that she is a true Tory. I suggest that she is supporting the PM on this occasion because any potential replacement would be a real Brexiteer.
- Lewis Mosse

People will remember Sarah Wollaston as just another sycophantic anti-democrat intent on keeping someone in office who has no concept of democracy, sovereignty or any of the other things people voted for in the referendum. The people had their vote already, respect it.
- Peter Hearn

117 votes. No Backstop here! The truth is that May is running out of road and the next leader will be Boris Johnson. Elected by the members. Sarah can stop pretending to be a Tory then.
- George, Paignton

2 faced or delusional , which is it Sarah??
- Peter Mulloy

ERG posturing? are you going to stop your posturing for a peoples vote that we've already had?? and get behind the parties commitments, maybe you just can't let your personal views be put before, Democracy , your constituents, and your Party. You are supposed to stand by the peoples (including constituents) wishes, Leave the job please if you can't do it.
- peter paignton

Write to the Totnes Conservative Assoc. asking for a new candidate at the next election. Sarah W has undermined democracy and the party on whose back she was elected. She clearly has more sense of self than of duty to the people who elected her.
- John

Boris as PM Saints and Angels of mercy protect us
- Bob

Putting aside the internal power struggle within (all) parties. Our MPs, from all sides clearly recognise that parliament is pre-eminent and that MPs are voted in by constituents. They clearly feel that the referendum does nor carry the weight of a normal election process. So be it. Consider then the outcome of the referendum based on constituencies. 63% Leave 37% remain. Had this been a NORMAL election, Leave would have a majority of 174 seats. I have excluded Wallasey which was 50/50. Source https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/parliament-and-elections/elections-elections/brexit-votes-by-constituency/ It seems to me that our democracy is lying in taters thanks to Westminster self interest and pity squabbles. Keep in mind this whole debacle is a Conservative debacle, created by 30 years of infighting, a moment of weakness (and ignorance) by David Cameron and a complete late of focus on what is important for the country from all sides of the house.
- Geoff

Seems to me that what is required is an outbreak of common sense on behalf of Cons members which one would hope might infect the idiotic faction led b the ERG. Sarah a 2nd referendum is a pipedream ,the cons party is going to split anyway so Mays deal is all we have !! D P
- Derek

Just one word sums up Wollaston - TRAITOR - a traitor to her constituents, her party, her country and above all democracy !!!"!
- Pete

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