Response from Sir Peter Bottomley

07 January 2020

Progression on our withdrawal from the European Union

Parliament has returned today. The first business is the Withdrawal Agreement Bill.


The bill is expected to become law over the course of the next week. If passed, the United Kingdom will leave the EU in an orderly fashion rather than crashing out without a deal. We are united.


I will work for the least possible damage to our interests and those of our close partners. We can take and we must share the possibilities Brexit can offer us as a nation.


The Withdrawal Agreement Bill passed its Second Reading in December. The vote on its Third Reading is expected this Thursday. It will go to the Lords and before going on to the Queen for Royal Assent. Then it will enter into law.


It will be a relief for many more than the majority that voted leave in 2016 that our withdrawal from the European Union will be orderly. The General Election displayed a wide desire nationally to focus on real issues we are facing together up and down the country.


Keep a sense of perspective and of proportion as our withdrawal moves forwards.


Information on the progression of the bill can is linked here.

03 October 2019

Parliament and the debates on leaving the European Union

As someone who thirty years ago served as Minister for Agriculture in Northern Ireland, I am accutely aware that the deal and proposed transition for our withdrawal from the European matters greatly.

During the Prime Minister's Statement to the House, I raised this important point.

There are critical issues with our withdrawal that must be dealt with whether we crash out or leave with a deal. The House supports a deal and does not support crashing out.

I also emphasised that it would be a good thing for the Prime Minister to rescind the withdrawal of the Conservative Whip from my colleagues, friends and neighbours, who should be back on our side fully.

The Prime Minister's response can be viewed below.

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House of Commons - 3rd October 2019

04 September 2019

Parliament and the debates on leaving the European Union

There is the responsibility to avoid turning present difficulties into a crisis or into chaos.

Members of Parliament reflect the range of views held throughout the nation.

I take the view that, following the referendum result, we should be leaving the EU with least damage and with greatest opportunities.

The prospect of possibly dropping out without advance agreements is one I oppose.

If it is to happen, I have advised the Prime Minister that it should follow a positive Commons vote, not happen as a default.

It is important for me to make clear that shouting at each other from opposite touchlines is unlikely to be productive.

I hope that my intention to play an active part in reaching agreement with the EU27 is supported by most sensible people who realise that we will do better that way.

Colleagues decide to vote as they judge appropriate. Day by day, I shall consider what may be best for our country and our future.

28 August 2019

Jeremy Corbyn's Offer and My Response

The Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, recently wrote to the 116 Conservative and Independent Members of Parliament he believed would consider joining him in opposing Brexit:

Dear colleague,


I am writing to you after convening a meeting earlier today with the leaders of other opposition parties on how we can work together across Parliament, to prevent a damaging No Deal exit from the European Union. At that meeting, we agreed to make efforts to put party politics aside to find a way through the present crisis.


We know there is a majority in parliament against No Deal. As MPs we’ve voted against No Deal on a number of occasions and we did so in the largest number on 27 March of this year. 


As you were one of 116 Conservative or independent MPs who voted against No Deal that day and are not on the government frontbench, I am writing to you to offer to work together, in a collegiate, cross party spirit, to find a practical way to prevent No Deal. 


This is an urgent task. The Prime Minister is reportedly planning to suspend parliament to force through a No Deal crash out. This action would be, according to legal advice I've received from Shadow Attorney General Shami Chakrabarti, "the gravest abuse of power and attack upon UK Constitutional principle in living memory".


My view is that holding a general election after an extension is achieved is the simplest and most democratic way to prevent No Deal and to let the people of this country decide our future. Indeed, it is the best route to a referendum or leaving the EU with a deal.


I understand not all colleagues may agree.


So, I would like to invite you to join a dialogue with myself, as leader of the Labour Party, and other opposition parties, to find a way for the clear will of parliament against No Deal to express itself. Please respond by email.


Yours sincerely,


Jeremy Corbyn MP

Leader of the Opposition


My response to the Leader of the Opposition is below:

Dear Mr Corbyn,


My attention has now been drawn to your message circulated yesterday afternoon.


I have voted consistently for the government’s proposal to leave the EU on terms that I judge fulfil the result of the referendum with least possible damage and greatest future opportunities.


You have not voted to leave the EU with a Deal.


The reason progress has not been made has been the unsatisfactory parliamentary ‘alliance’ of four incompatible blocks:

- the Labour party with its deliberately vague policy;

- the Labour leader who appears not to support the party’s policy;

- the Out Outers who sometimes seem to want to crash out whatever the penalties; and

- the In Inners wanting another referendum in the hope that there would be a different decision.


With kindness, your approach is not offering benefit.


You offer no proposal for parliament to agree the agreement known as the Deal or something like it, without a general election.


My suggestion to you is that you now release the party whip, allowing sensible Labour and Cooperative MPs to vote positively in the national interest.




Sir Peter Bottomley MP

Member of Parliament for Worthing West



I continue to support an orderly and prosperous withdrawal from the European Union, with the least possible damage to our interests and those of our close partners.

24 July 2019

No Deal Brexit Concerns

The election of Boris Johnson as Leader of the Conservatives signals a greater emphasis on No Deal preperation.​

I remain committed to backing the government to secure a deal that both respects the referendum result and ensures minimal disruption to the wider UK economy.


The prospect of supporting a No Deal Brexit is beyond consideration. However, it remains something that many MPs were aware of when voting in favour of triggering Article 50. It continues to be the legal default position should a transitional arrangement fail to be agreed.

The prospect of a no-deal is still unlikely and that it would require a positive vote by the Commons. This does not seem likely to happen.

A No Deal Brexit, carried out due to a lack of agreement otherwise, would be irresponsible and the worst of the alternatives.

27 February 2019

Prime Minister's Withdrawal Agreement - Vote

This week, as Parliament considers our country’s options on Europe, my mind turned to the meeting in Hanoi between the leaders of the United States and North Korea. Economic prosperity is important, but so is a nation’s unity.

The advice Vietnam could give North Korea is that trading with the US and around the world is good. At the armistice when Korean war hostilities ceased, Vietnam was poorer than Korea. Look at the contrast now. If Korea want to have greater freedom from China, as Vietnam does, it needs to join the world community.

America was to be a universal nation, a home and a model for all humankind. Now, like many around the world, Americans face a choice. Do they want or need what has been described as the ‘Trumpian right’ where our sort of people are under threat from their sort of people; where walls, barriers and fighting are needed, moving from crossing the frontier to creating a fortress? The question resounds across the world.

The better alternative is that moderates put forward an attractive unifying idea. We know what counteracts division, fragmentation and alienation. I do not argue that all moderates congregate in one middle grouping.

Instead of fuelling anger or seeking conflict, we can encourage talking across divides with the aim of increasing our affections for one another. We are bound together by love and care for our children and for our elderly. We share affection for our place and our places, where we can trust each other. Greatest of all, we share humanity, the drive to help when we can, to cure and to care.

Let us keep a sense of perspective and of proportion as the Brexit saga works its way forward. Our real opponents are not each other: we confront ignorance, apathy and prejudice.

I continue to support our Government, our Parliament, and our nation in moving forwards with Brexit; to find the overlap between what is wanted and what is possible, and to move on with prosperity and unity.

To read my full statement, please see here.

15 January 2019

Prime Minister's Withdrawal Agreement - Vote

The UK is to leave the EU. That decision was taken two years ago. The question is whether we crash out or leave based on the Prime Minister's negotiations, followed by a period of transition and the future arrangements on trade and relationships.

There is no majority for us to reverse the referendum and there is no majority for us to leave without any arrangements for future trading, security and relations. The majority of us, Conservative, Labour and alike, support the Prime Minister in achieving an effective withdrawal. 

Our responsibility now is to find where there is an overlap between what is possible and what is right as we leave the European Union.

The Opposition, to be reasonably polite, seem to resemble members of the scarabaeidae family who are upside down, pushing in the wrong direction and do not quite know where they are going. The Opposition is not right and fails to present an alternative. The alternatives already present are not possible: we cannot remain and we cannot crash out without any arrangements.

If the choice for the country is between chaos and compromise, I think the Prime Minister continues to have the country's support in reaching a sensible withdrawal in the national interest.

When voting on Tuesday evening, those who want to Remain united with Labour, SNP and the Lib Dems with those who have no interest in a negotiated withdrawal agreement, nor in transition arrangements that matter to business nor in the future trade arrangements with the EU 27 and with the rest of the world. 

Here are the Prime Minister's words: it is clear that Parliament did not support the Withdrawal Agreement as it stands, but the vote tells us nothing about what Members of Parliament want nor even if the Commons intends to honour the decision the British people took in a referendum Parliament decided to hold.

I will continue to try to implement the referendum decision with the least possible damage to our interests.

Sir Peter Bottomley
MP for Worthing West

House of Commons - 15th January 2019

06 December 2018

Prime Minister's Withdrawal Agreement

When it comes to voting next Tuesday, the choice is obvious. 

Do people vote for what they personally want, or do they vote for the real options presented that respects the referendum result in the national interest.

Many people would argue that the deal is not perfect, but many would agree that it is the best in the circumstances. The Prime Minister has reached the best agreement possible in consideration of the referendum, our national interests and the present circumstances.

If we want to make politics work for people, we need to show that this Parliament respects their views and pays attention to their interests. 

Britain's withdrawal from the European Union is not a partisan issue, it is a national issue. We must not approach it based on allegiances and partisan lines. Instead, we must consider what is the best for our nation out of the options present. 

Parliament must make progress. The other options face returning Britain to the situations we found ourselves in during the 1930s and the 1970s when we ended up with a lot of unemployment and violence on the streets.

This is not a vote of confidence in our Government, this is a vote of confidence in Britain.

Sky Interview - 6th December 2018

15 November 2018

Prime Minister's Statement - Draft Withdrawal Agreement

I am supporting the Prime Minister because she has been the one at the centre of the negotiations throughout the withdrawal process who has done the best possible to reach a deal that considers the interests of both the EU and the future prosperity of the United Kingdom. The majority in this country, this parliament and this party, accept the result of the referendum and want a way forwards which is positive and conclusive. Most of us will back her in trying to get the sovereignty that she's argued for, the prospects of prosperity, security and a fruitful partnerships with our allies and friends across the Channel, across the North Sea, and across the world. 


I have been very clear. We have to respect the result of the referendum. A majority of the country voted to leave. We should also consider the range of views and desires of voters, acknowledging that there is no single consensus apart from that this Parliament strive to deliver a plan that is in our national interest.


The withdrawal agreement that we go forwards with is the key to the future relationship we have with the European Union and rest of the world. The aim is to have proper, frictionless trade with the our former partners. This proposal does not draw a border down the middle of the Irish Sea. It defends our sovereignty and bolsters our economy. We can be confident that the thousands of hours and hundreds of negotiators working on this initial withdrawal agreement have done so to deliver the best deal possible.


The alternatives to the Withdrawal Proposal are a probability of crashing out and the possibility of a Government led by the Leader of the Opposition - neither of which should be considered as an alternative. I continue to support the Prime Minister in reaching and presenting the best deal possible for the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union. She has done her duty to deliver in our national interest - my responsibility when there is a choice is to prefer the better to the less good and to assess the options presented.


The question my colleagues and I will have to consider is what will happen to the next generation. The decisions made today will dramatically shape the world our future generations live in. We must consider the implications of our vote. We owe it to our constituents to think extremely long and hard before we cast our vote in December on the withdrawal agreement and how our relationship with the EU progresses in the future. Many constituents have written to me on the draft deal and expressing strong opinions on either side of the debate. I thank my constituents for their views and I shall take all points under consideration when voting on the deal when it is put before the House of Commons.


I implore all those who are interested to read the draft deal themselves and make an informed judgement:

House of Commons - 15th November 2018

July 2018

Prime Minister's Chequers Plan for Brexit

People have different views on the EU. We each now want the best deal for the United Kingdom. I have been clear and straightforward in my support for the Prime Minister, negotiating the future relationship our country will have with the European Union.

The Conservative party, the Houses of Parliament and the people of this country can support her with the agreed plans. The Cabinet is in agreement that the negotiations proceed.

Discussions around the Cabinet table have created a plan that will work best for our country. It accepts the result of the referendum. However, once these private discussions have concluded, it is critical that Ministers remain unified behind the Prime Minister. If certain Ministers are unable to do so, they should have quit long ago.

Below are my concluding words to her Statement on Monday 9th July.

House of Commons - 09th July 2018

June 2018

Consideration of Lords Amendments regarding Environmental Regulation

Thank you to all those who have contacted me over the past few weeks about the transfer of EU environmental law into UK law.

The Government has made repeatedly clear that all EU legislation, including environmental protections, will be converted into UK law at the point of the UK’s departure from the EU. This will provide continuity and certainty for individuals in the UK and in the EU. 

I also believe that environmental principles must continue to underpin policy as they do now. That is why I am glad that a consultation has been launched on the principles and how they should be incorporated into our law in the future. The consultation is open until the 2 August 2018 and you may wish to respond to it at the following address:

The Government has also proposed in the consultation that the establishment of an environmental watchdog should meet the following objectives:

  1. Act as a strong, objective, impartial and well-evidenced voice for environmental protection and enhancement;

  2. Be independent of government and capable of holding it to account;

  3. Be established on a durable, statutory basis;

  4. Have a clear remit, avoiding overlap with other bodies;

  5. Have the powers, functions and resources required to deliver that remit and;

  6. Operate in a clear, proportionate and transparent way in the public interest, recognising that it is necessary to balance environmental protection against other priorities.

Although the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice will end, the Government will ensure that strong and effective governance arrangements are in place after the UK’s exit from the EU. A new independent body will hold the Government to account and ensure that environmental standards are upheld. No decisions have yet been taken on the UK’s future relationship with EU agencies including with the European Environment Agency. This is a matter for the negotiations.


Thank you again to all those who got in touch, please do not hesitate to contact me if you feel you would like to discuss this matter further in more detail.

September 2017

Repeal Bill

Thank you for contacting me about the Committee Stage of the Repeal Bill.


In the referendum, millions of people voted to leave the EU. The EU (Withdrawal) Bill, also known as the Repeal Bill, ensures that the UK does this in the smoothest possible way and this is why I support it. This Bill is not about whether we leave the EU or about the terms of our exit.


The Bill honours the referendum result and provides certainty for businesses. It repeals the European Communities Act 1972, which gives effect to EU law in the UK, and converts all EU law into UK law. It also provides ministers in the UK Government and in the devolved administrations with temporary powers to make corrections to the law. Without it there would be holes in our legal system and chaos for the British people.

​The Bill does not, however, allow the Government to bypass Parliament. MPs will still be able to scrutinise any changes introduced by ministers using delegated powers and major policy changes will be introduced as separate Bills. The Queen’s Speech announced legislation on agriculture, immigration and trade. Future laws will be made in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast.  

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© 2019 Sir Peter Bottomley MP

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