The MP for Warwick and Leamington voted in support of last night’s Brexit Bill despite backing the remain campaign last year.
MP Chris White said he had to support the referendum result and follow his party’s line on Wednesday night by backing the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill.
The country’s MPs backed the European Union Bill by 498 votes to 114 votes.
An open letter to the MP was signed by nearly 200 people in his constituency asking him to make his views public before the vote.
After the vote, Mr White released this statement to the Courier, which we have decided to publish in full.
Chris White’s Statement:
In 2015, I stood on a Conservative Party manifesto that promised a referendum on membership of the European Union.
Soon after I was elected, I voted in favour of a Bill to put that referendum to the British people.
In December, I voted for a motion calling on the Government to invoke Article 50 by the end of March.
I did so because the democratic process has taken place and it would be wrong to overturn or ignore a decision that was made by the British people last year.
For Parliament to overturn that decision would do a great deal of damage to the credibility of our democracy.
As I am sure many constituents are aware, I voted and campaigned to remain, but I have to respect the outcome of the vote irrespective of my disappointment at the time.
This was an extremely difficult decision to make and I have considered the vote at length, particularly due to the majority of my constituents voting to remain.
However, I cannot foresee a situation, as has been suggested by some, in which voting against triggering Article 50 would result in holding a second referendum.
We remain in a position of uncertainty and I believe that to vote against the triggering of Article 50 would prolong that uncertainty.
It is time to accept the result and to make the very best of the opportunities that Brexit affords.
As I have said, this should not be seen as a vote on whether to remain in the EU.
My priority now is to ensure that the interests of local residents, businesses and organisations are protected and that any potential risks are mitigated against as best as possible.
The vote was lost despite the views of the Prime Minister at the time, the majority of the Cabinet and the majority of MPs, but it would be undemocratic to ignore a referendum in which each citizen was able to have their say.
For those that voted to leave, and even for many that voted to remain, it would be completely wrong for Parliament to block the result.
If the outcome had been for remaining a member of the EU, it would equally be expected that the result be adhered to.
Since the referendum a great deal has changed.
Our exit from the EU has begun with preliminary negotiations with other countries as well as the development of an Industrial Strategy, which I fully support.
In order for the UK to achieve the best possible outcome from Brexit, it is right that we now focus on our negotiating strategy and domestic policy, rather than continuing to debate whether or not to remain in the EU. Furthermore, this process has already begun.
It is right that we now work on a cross-party basis and set out a positive vision for the country, and to turn that vision into reality as quickly and efficiently as possible.
That is the message that I conveyed during the debate on the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill and I pledge to achieve the best outcome for my constituents.