‘Tis the season for campaigning. Unusually in the run up to Christmas, unsuspecting residents can look forward to a knock on the door, not from carol singers, but from candidates and activists from each of the UK’s political parties, asking their voting intentions and thoughts about our local and national political scene.
As always, people are remarkably cheerful and engaging on their own doorsteps. As the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Hertford and Stortford, I called at one door last week to be met by a gentleman clad in a dressing gown. Undeterred by my offer to return another time, he was very keen to tell me about the ‘morons’ who voted to leave the European Union in 2016. Inside, my heart sank.
But the conversation took an unexpected turn. He told me how he had been horrified and very angry at the referendum result, but that over the past three years and more, his anger had been transformed. He now feels angry at the politicians who have said one thing and done another; those who are intimately involved in – and whose jobs depend on – the democratic process, but who wish to deny the result of a democratic vote, and those EU officials who have, in his words, treated our country with contempt.
‘So please’, he concluded, ‘get Brexit done.’
Hertford and Stortford voted marginally to Remain. However, amongst many of the voters I have met on the doorstep, including those who voted to Remain, there is a palpable appetite for the deal being offered by Boris Johnson and a yearning for a conclusion to this stage of the Brexit process.
In fact, I feel a real sense that ‘Get Brexit Done’ resonates and reflects people’s thinking in a way that most political ‘slogans’ have not done in a long time.
At this election, voters have the chance to choose between the certainty of a majority Conservative government which will deliver Brexit by the end of January, via the great new deal negotiated by the Prime Minister – or more of the same confusion, indecision and arguments we have all had to put up with over the past three years.
By standing firm in negotiating with the EU, the Prime Minister has demonstrated that both sides benefit from agreeing a future trade relationship and a close partnership of friends and allies. Now that we have a Withdrawal Agreement that has passed the House of Commons once, with a Conservative majority it will be possible to pass it into law and make real progress in the next stage of negotiations.
I have wanted to Get Brexit Done for decades. I never expected that we would ever have given away the amount of sovereignty that we have through treaties such as Maastricht and Lisbon and through judicial creep by the European Court. At every stage, I thought ‘now is the time; now is the time someone will say ‘no, enough’.’ And I was proud that when the people were able to pass judgement, they did just that.
I acknowledge the sincere beliefs and fears of those who believe that we have made a huge mistake, but democracy demands that we carry out the mandate given to us at the referendum. And the country demands now that we move on to other issues. Businesses large and small – including those in the outward-looking and ambitious London-Stansted-Cambridge Corridor – need certainty so that they can increase investment and drive growth and productivity; voters want politicians to deliver on the economy and public services, house-building, infrastructure and the environment. And so we should.
In Hertford, Ware, Bishop’s Stortford, Sawbridgeworth and our villages, people engage on the Christmas doorstep and whilst I’m happy to speak about Brexit, I’m even happier speaking about the housing developments that affect them and the roads and trains they depend on to get to work; and that’s not to mention the Conservative commitment to increase NHS funding, to deliver 50 million more GP surgery appointments a year, to recruit 50,000 more nurses, end unfair hospital car parking charges, protect the Triple Lock, to put more police on our streets and so, so much more.
Boris’s oven-ready Brexit is the Christmas dinner that our country needs and, if elected by the good people of Hertford and Stortford on 12th December, I will vote to put it on the festive table.
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* This article was originally published here