I still receive many more emails and letters about Brexit than any other subject. I am acutely conscious that of the 70,000 adults living in SW Devon, I am likely to be the only one who will get to vote on the final act in October. This is a good time to summarise my views.
I see no evidence that there has been a shift in the opinion of my constituents since they voted 55/45 % to leave in June 2016.
The law as it currently stands states that we will leave the EU on 31st October (with or without a deal). That is the date pinpointed by the Article 50 process started well over 2 years ago, replacing the original date of 29th March 2019.
It is possible that Parliament could pass a new law to stop us leaving on 31st October without a deal, but expert opinion is divided on that point. It is possible that a confidence motion in the government might be lost, triggering a general election, but that could well be after 31st October, once we have already left.
The government (including the DUP) currently only has a majority of one, with at least half a dozen dissenters, so there can be no certainty on anything. It is important to remember however that there are Labour rebels who support the October date and over a dozen independent MPs holding a range of views.
I do not want us to leave with no deal. I supported the previous deal three times. Any MP concerned about no deal should have done likewise. I support the current hard-line approach as the best chance of birthing changes to the deal that Parliament could accept. This stand-off is likely to continue for some weeks yet, well into September. I hope it will result in a deal being struck.
If there is no deal however, I will support a no deal Brexit. We have to leave. This is no longer about leaving the EU, but protecting our democracy. All of the freedoms we have flow from our democracy.
I remain firmly opposed to a second referendum as inconclusive and divisive.
We promised the people that we would honour the result of the referendum. If we wish to preserve trust in our democracy, we must do that. A possible short-term economic bump in the road is preferable to a potentially deep crack in the cornerstone of our freedoms.