• Diogo Rodrigues

We aren’t just going to break away from the EU and say ‘adios amigos’ forever

In 2016 Bridgwater & West Somerset voted overwhelmingly to leave the EU – about 62% Leave to 38% Remain. Three years on and we are being asked to go to the polls again because parliament finds itself deadlocked, unable to agree on a way forward with Brexit.

In 2016 I supported remain, after all, my family are originally from Portugal and they came to the UK thanks to the relationship the UK built with the EU - so it would be odd of me to do otherwise. BUT. The majority of people voted to Leave and Bridgwater & West Somerset did so overwhelmingly. Three years on and we are still arguing amongst ourselves about whether we should Leave or Remain and we are still asking ourselves, are we ‘leavers’ or ‘remainers’?

The reality is, the UK voted to leave the EU. We aren’t just going to break away from the EU and say ‘adios amigos’ forever – of course we are going to continue having a relationship with the EU, just a different one. Is it going to cost a bit more to fly to Europe? Perhaps. Are we going to need special permits to drive in Europe? Maybe. Are we going to disappear off the face of the planet when Brexit finally happens? I think not. (Ok a bit extreme, I know) What we should be doing is debating HOW we leave, not IF we leave, about HOW we want our future relationship with the EU to look like, not IF we want our relationship to look different.

Not everyone will agree but hear it from me, a British citizen with a Portuguese heritage - people democratically voted to leave the EU, we should respect that vote and get on with implementing it so that we can all move on. We are all frustrated that parliament has failed to find common ground, that tribal party politics has gotten in the way and that this process has just gone on for far too long. Let’s get on with delivering Brexit - respecting democracy by delivering on the result of that referendum. Let’s get on with delivering Brexit after the General Election, with debating our future relationship with the EU and finally dealing with all the other issues that have been brushed aside.

The Liberal Democrats want to ignore democracy and revoke article 50 altogether. The Labour Party want to delay Brexit further, negotiate another deal and then campaign to remain, or maybe they want to leave (I can never really tell). The Tories have wasted the last 3 years in government with two different prime ministers trying to get a deal agreed within their own party. Finally, there is a deal which looks like it has broad support you want another 5 years of being under-represented in parliament by Ian-Liddell Grainger?

This election has been called because of the Brexit paralysis but remember, you’ll be voting for an MP to represent you for the next 5 years.

A vote for Diogo is not only a vote to respect democracy and deliver Brexit, but it’s also a vote for someone who you can trust to represent you beyond Brexit.

A vote for Diogo is a vote for someone who genuinely cares for the people he represents, who has a track record of championing the people and communities he represents, who, as Mayor of Bridgwater, gave a strong voice to the people he represented and, as our Member of Parliament, will give us the change we need and the voice we deserve.

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