Sir David Amess, MP for Southend West, put in to speak in the debate on the European Union (Future Relationship) Bill on 30 December. Unfortunately, due to the level of demand to participate in this debate Sir David was not chosen to be on the call list, but here is the speech that he was going to give:
For me the passage of this Bill today is one of those defining moments which makes it so worthwhile having been a Member of Parliament for so long. I will be voting for the Bill and congratulate the Prime Minister and his team on what he has secured and delivering on our election manifesto promise last year.
I have taken part in two referendum campaigns. The first from my point of view was unsuccessful and I was so delighted to be given the chance again in 2016 when my view was shared by the majority of people that we should leave the European Union. I fully accept that our membership of the European Union and indeed the creation of the institution itself was done with the very best of intentions. Absolutely no one wanted the evils that surfaced in the Second world War to occur again, but for me the loss of our sovereignty and indeed the diminishing power that we Members of Parliament have had over this country’s destiny has led me to the view that we would be far better off outside the organisation.
I pay tribute to my Right Honourable Friends the Members for Stone and Rayleigh and Wickford for their diligence in ensuring that the European Research Group has analysed this agreement to the extent that they were able to conclude that the agreement preserves the UK’s sovereignty as a matter of law and fully respects the norms of international sovereign-to-sovereign treaties.
In my time in Parliament, I have seen my own Party wrestle with the conflicting interests involved in our membership of the European Union. Five Conservative Prime Ministers have done all in their power to protect British interests. I have looked on in horror when at times in defending our interests some of our European partners have adopted the role of the playground bully. Only recently we witnessed the terrible scenes of disruption of the movement of vehicles and people between the UK and the European mainland. You only have to consider the stance taken by the French President and his youth, inexperience and lack of a sense of history to see that we have not been respected by all of our former European partners.
There can be no argument that it isn’t so long ago that the British people, led by Winston Churchill, made sacrifices that saved Europe form being overrun by wicked forces.
I do share the disappointment of my local fishermen that their own sector has not done as well out of this agreement as they would have wished. Their position, however, has undoubtedly improved with a decline in the EU total catch and the opportunity to renegotiate the arrangements within five years.
So, in conclusion, this is an historic moment for our nation; one which will achieve a new dawn and a new beginning as we will enjoy the freedom of being a truly sovereign nation again.