Weekly Column 03.04.19

I know that Brexit is a topic of great concern to many of you. As Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and a member of the Cabinet, I have been at the very centre of talks, in Westminster, in Northern Ireland, even in Dublin or occasionally Brussels over the last two years.  

Like other MPs I have received hundreds of letters and emails about Brexit and I do of course listen carefully to what you say. Staffordshire Moorlands voted to Leave and I entirely respect that decision. Along with the PM I have been doing my best to deliver on that result while making sure we secure our prosperity and all our futures. 

I know people are frustrated with the endless votes and I have replied to many of you explaining my position and why I voted how I did. I want to confirm that I did not vote against a No Deal and you may have seen that I did not vote on any of the options last week. That is because these were indicative votes for the House of Commons and it would not have been appropriate for a member of the Cabinet to have voted. My position is the same as the Government of which I am a member and the last Conservative party manifesto, that we should leave the EU with a negotiated settlement leading to a deep and special partnership with the EU where the UK is outside the customs union and single market.  

I was saddened on Friday when Parliament did not vote for the Withdrawal Agreement. I want to deliver on the vote of the British people in June 2016. I want to see us leave the EU. I want us to have an independent trade policy. And I am frustrated that MPs have put that outcome at risk.