On 23rd June 2016 the British people took the historic decision to leave the European Union. The EU referendum was the largest democratic exercise in our nation's history, with more people voting to leave the European Union than have voted for any party or prime minister in history.
Despite long-favouring membership of a reformed EU, I ultimately voted to leave in June 2016. Having tried and failed to re-negotiate the terms of our membership, it became very clear that this was an inflexible, undemocratic body that was incapable of fundamental reform. I therefore voted to leave on the basis that the EU was heading for an undemocratic federalism that the UK has never desired and, above all, because I wanted to see our historic democratic freedoms preserved.
I believe that a fundamental right of a free people is to have the dignity of choosing peacefully at the ballot box who shall govern them. That government derives its just powers from the collective consent of the electors. Our political liberty was won over centuries through immense struggle and at great cost. It is only real when it is possible to vote out the ultimate source of legislation and institute a new government better suited to the needs and desires of the people. Within the EU, that is not possible: European Union law is supreme and UK electors cannot remove the executive branch of European government, the European Commission.
I think our nation's long-term interests are best served if we are a functioning democracy, preserving our unique parliamentary freedoms, where our country's destiny is in the hands of the British people.
Being the first MP who was elected to Parliament following the EU referendum, I am keen to ensure that Brexit reflects the long-term interests of our country and, crucially, the people of West Oxfordshire who have elected me. As I speak to constituents, regardless of whether they voted to leave or remain, we are united in wanting to see our country thrive and remain an open, tolerant society. We all want to enjoy a friendly, co-operative relationship with our European friends as we withdraw from the bureaucratic structures of the EU.
Throughout this process I will work towards a Brexit that is in the best interests of West Oxfordshire and ensure we seize this historic opportunity to build a more democratic, free and prosperous nation.