Following the agreement between the UK and the European Commission on the Draft Political Declaration setting out the future relationship between the UK and the EU, Rachel said:
“I have now had an opportunity to study the draft political declaration that the Prime Minister released yesterday, which I believe delivers on the Referendum result. There is a lot of interest in the future political declaration, which is the relationship we will seek to negotiate with the EU once we leave.
“My constituents have made it clear to me that when they voted to Leave, they wanted to take back control of our money, borders and laws. This is what will happen by the end of Implementation Period in December 2020.
“This draft declaration makes it abundantly clear that the UK will be ending free movement, leaving the Customs Union, leaving the Common Fisheries Policy and the Common Agricultural Policy, ending the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice and regaining our sovereignty.
“We will be able to sign our own trade deals with emerging economies around the world, as well as protecting jobs here in the UK by creating an ambitious free trade area with the EU.
“There is rightly a lot of intense scrutiny of the Prime Minister’s draft deal, and the Withdrawal Agreement. This is an important moment for our country, and we must get it right. And I have had a chance to listen to the views of my constituents as well. It’s very clear to me that it is absolutely impossible to please everyone in this situation. That is what happens in a negotiation and where people have diametrically opposing views on this topic.
“What our Prime Minster has achieved is something that no-one on either side of the referendum debate, leave or remain, said she would be able to. This I believe is testament to her sense of public duty and her ability to put the national interest first.
“It’s important to appreciate how much the EU has moved from their original position that we would not get a bespoke deal for the UK. What the Prime Minister has succeeded in doing is delivering a bespoke, unique deal, that has gone beyond what many EU members would wish. By standing up for our national interest, and focusing on the needs of jobs, business and the economy, the Prime Minister has achieved what many deemed impossible.
“I, like many others have concerns about the risk of the so-called “backstop.” But we must remember that it is not in the EU’s interest to ever activate the backstop, because it gives the UK an unfair advantage (in their terms) over other member states. Were we to be in the backstop, we would still be closely aligned to the EU, having access to their markets, but not paying in. And it’s also the case that legally, under Article 50, the backstop can only ever be temporary.
“For me, it is a necessary compromise, because let’s remember, this is about what is in the interests of the country and people in Redditch. There is no scenario under which the EU would even negotiate a deal without the provision of the backstop, and it is pure fantasy to think that they would.
“Another concern I had was regarding the role of the European Court of Justice in future dispute settlements; this has now been allayed by the Prime Minister’s explanation of what will happen in this situation. She made it clear that the final arbiter in disputes will be the joint committee, which will be made up of members from the UK and the EU. But, where EU law is concerned, the committee can consider the opinion of the ECJ.
“We must all remember that this is just a draft agreement and not the final deal. Negotiations are yet to take place on our future relationship with the EU and nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.
“Away from the Westminster bubble, when I speak to people in Redditch, they just want us to get on with Brexit and focus on the things that they care about in their daily lives, including the NHS, schools and policing.
“If we reject this deal, we go back to square one, which means damaging uncertainty and continuing division which threatens jobs, investment and the economy. And we would have less time to focus on domestic issues. I have always said; no deal is better than a bad deal. And this in my view is a good deal. This is why I will be supporting it in Parliament.”