Senior Tory MEP says: "Let’s get Brexit done"

The European Parliament must play its role and give consent to the Brexit deal without delay, MEPs were told on Tuesday.

The leader of the UK's Conservative MEPs, Geoffrey Van Orden, said MEPs should stop obsessing about events in Westminster and concentrate on their own role of ratifying the Withdrawal Agreement on behalf of the European Union.

Mr Van Orden, MEP for the East of England, said: "We have often called for the EU to show goodwill and flexibility in its approach to Brexit. We have now seen this in the most recent negotiations and at the European Council. What a change in atmosphere.

"I feel sure this will continue over the coming few days as we approach the date for Britain’s departure from the EU. It augurs well for a sensible, close future relationship based on so many common interests.

"And I hope that there will be some proper reflection here on why the British people chose to leave the EU. I hope also that, before December 2020, there will be acceptable technical arrangements for customs checks.

"In spite of efforts to spread political disinformation, we have been clear that PM Boris Johnson has always wanted a deal - a good deal for Britain and for the EU.

"The Presidents and Prime Ministers of the member states, in Council, have now agreed a deal and want to get on with it.

"They want the urgent consent of this House and I hope we can deliver this with all speed. After all, the departure date of 31 October was set, not by the British government, but by the European Council back in April.

"Some colleagues say they want to see how the British Parliament is responding.  But our task is separate We should not be distracted. I am sure no one here - not even Mr Verhofstadt -  wishes to take on a role as the Bercow of Brussels.

"In any case, the Withdrawal Agreement is being put to the House of Commons today. There is confidence that it will pass, and this should then provide the signal that some here are looking for.

"Some shenanigans may follow but it is not our task to interfere in the British parliamentary process. This is our moment to rise above the squabbling, all the alternative political agendas, and show that the European parliament can be decisive when it matters. The EU must not make another sequencing mistake.

"Let’s get Brexit done - without delay."

Read also: Brexit: Debacle in Westminster as UK Parliament refuses to recognise will of the people

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Martin Banks

Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a highly qualified journalist with many years experience of working within the EU institutions. He is an occasional, and highly valued, contributor to EU today, writing on a wide variety of issues.

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