2018

November 2018 Newsletter from John Howell MP for Henley

In my newsletter for Parish Magazines I try to avoid Party political comment and simply report on my work or comment on particular issues that I hope will be of interest to constituents. This month will be no different. However I do want to comment on Brexit!! Not on the deal, not on the views of those on either side of the argument, but on the process and reactions to the process.

As I write I have just taken part in a discussion on BBC Radio Oxford on the draft Brexit deal that the Prime Minster tabled mid-November. The BBC had been out and about asking for people’s views on Brexit and there was a strong feeling that people are thoroughly fed up with the issue and just want it resolved. This is coming from people on both sides of the debate. This reflects many comments to me as I go out and about in the constituency. I too am dismayed at the way in which some leading politicians seem to be using this as an opportunity for self-promotion and are jockeying for position to be in the best place to put themselves forward if the Prime Minister is toppled. It is a side of polities which I deplore.

The voices of those in the street probably represent the silent majority. There have been vociferous and persistent campaigns over many months from both sides of the debate. I have been bombarded by emails demanding support from people on both sides of the debate – which of course is impossible.

As I have said many times I voted to remain in the EU but I respect the outcome of the referendum vote and accept that I was not on the winning side. The arguments about the campaign have been long rehearsed especially questioning whether people know what they were voting for. Now that we have a draft deal on the table many have been quick to condemn it. Too quick. Many have condemned a deal the detail of which they have not even read. It is an important issue and on such an issue the original source material, albeit of 585 pages, is surely not too much to bother with. This is so given the very mixed picture that the press and media have presented.

A recent opinion poll of over 2,000 people has shown that if Parliament rejects the deal only one in four of us (26%) want us to leave with no deal. The majority want to continue with the current negotiations to finalise the draft.

One media comment made in this same week suggested that there are many other things that MPs need to focus on and suggested that Brexit has been the only issue for debate in the last 18 months. Let me reassure you that Brexit may have been the key issue for the media but the work of Parliament on a wider range of important issues has carried on. Brexit has been one important issue among many as I have reported in my publications over recent months. But I have spoken almost 180 times in the past year and overall have concentrated on the issues that really matter to people.

If there is an issue that concerns you please do let me know. you can email me at howelljm@parliament.uk or write to me at the House of Commons (House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA) or my constituency office (PO Box 84, Watlington, OX49 5XD). If you would like to know more about my work on behalf of the Government and the Constituency please do look at my website which is regularly updated. The address is www.johnhowellmp.com. Further details of the work of Parliament is available on the parliament website at www.parliament.uk. As always, I am interested to hear constituent’s views on the proposals before the House.