As you may have seen reported, I submitted a letter to Graham Brady MP, Chairman of the Backbench 1922 Committee, lending my support to a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister. I did this last July soon after the ‘Chequers Deal’ was first published. I did so only after thinking long and hard and doing my best to consider all of the possible options. I chose not to make it public at that time not wanting to make life even more difficult for ministers involved in the negotiations.
When the ‘Chequers Deal’ made it clear that we were heading for an agreement that was incompatible, with what I believe 70 per cent of my constituents voted for, and did not deliver on the manifesto commitments promised at last year’s election it was clear that further concessions would inevitably follow, as indeed has been the case, and so now we have an even worse agreement.
I would have preferred not to have written the letter. Theresa May has shown great determination and fortitude and is, in so many ways, my sort of Conservative but, on this issue has led the Party into a cul-de-sac. It has been very clear for weeks that the direction of the negotiations would result in a proposal that would not command the support of a majority of MPs so we now have a position whereby both Brexit and many Remain members can’t offer support.
I calculate that if a vote of confidence is held Mrs May will win but that there will be enough votes against to force her to seek amendments to the Agreement. She can then return to Brussels strengthened by having parliamentary backing and, hopefully, return with proposals that command a majority among Conservative MPs.
You can read my letter here: