MERIDEN MP Dame Caroline Spelman has backed prime minister Theresa May and her Brexit deal amid cabinet resignations and a potential leadership challenge.
Mrs May agreed a draft settlement with Brussels over the UK’s exit from the European Union yesterday.
Since then notable cabinet members – including Brexit secretary Dominic Raab – have quit and speculation is mounting over a potential parliamentary vote of no confidence in the prime minister.
Dame Caroline said: “Everyone knows divorce is difficult, costs money and that neither party emerges an outright winner.
“This basic knowledge should inform our understanding that separating from the club we have been a member of for 40 years was always likely to have some of the same problems.
“The basis of the deal has been known for some time: like a four legged table, one leg is the assurance to EU citizens who have
lived and worked here that they will continue to be able to do so and for the other one million UK citizens in the EU the same
assurance; the second leg is the divorce bill of £39billion for our outstanding liabilities; the third leg, and by far the most important,
is frictionless trade for UK business with the EU, which is our main market; the fourth is resolving the Irish question.
“Mrs May has secured an offer previously refused to David Cameron: we would take back control of our borders and end free
movement as part of her deal.
“This represents a huge shift and reflects what many people told me they wanted during the referendum campaign.
“I am therefore dismayed by the opposition she faced in Parliament from all sides.
“A reality check is required.
“No deal would be a disaster for the West Midlands which exports more than any other region to the EU.
“Why would business produce goods here for its principal market if barriers and tariffs are to be put in its way by no deal?
“No deal would put at risk the recovery of manufacturing which has given a whole generation of young people a great start in well
paid, skilled jobs.
“This deal gives us back control over our borders, our law making and our money so why reject it?
“We will not have the same degree of influence over the club we are leaving but, just like a divorce there is always a price.
“For the fresh start the country voted for at the referendum this is the best deal on offer and the EU has said it will not improve on it.
“I am full of admiration for Mrs May who calmly and patiently explained the detail to our Parliament but it was as if many MPs had,
on the basis of hysterical press speculation, pre-decided that the deal equated to “treachery”.
“This is the time for cool heads and rational thinking, not hot headed emotion.
“I respect the huge effort made by the PM and fully support the deal she has secured to deliver Brexit.”