ESKDALE’S MP has pledged to continue to back the Prime Minister’s policy on Brexit.
David Mundell, Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale, who was sacked as Scottish Secretary when Boris Johnson became PM in July, says his constituents want the government to “get on with it”.
Mr Mundell spoke to the E&L Advertiser on Tuesday, only hours before Mr Johnson “paused” his Brexit bill after MPs rejected his plan to pass it in three days.
The UK is now awaiting the EU’s response to its request for a three-month Brexit delay. Mr Johnson is likely to push for a general election if the EU agrees.
A new report has highlighted Dumfries and Galloway’s vulnerability to Brexit showing the region will be one of those hit most by Brexit.
The report, Local Level Brexit Vulnerabilities in Scotland, published by the Rural and Environmental Science and Analytical Services department at the Scottish government, considers the effects that leaving Europe will have on communities.
Colin Smyth, South Scotland Labour MSP, highlighted the fact the report said Dumfries and Galloway would be the fourth-worst-hit local authority in Scotland.
Mr Smyth says the report should be a wake-up call for Mr Mundell and Alister Jack, Scottish Secretary and Dumfries and Galloway MP.
Mr Smyth said: “The report accurately measures the benefits of EU membership from attracting workers to tackling our shrinking working age population and giving grants for projects such as Dumfries & Galloway LEADER.
“Despite three years since the referendum, the two governments have failed to put forward proposals for a future immigration system which will help us attract workers for the public sector, set out support for farmers and other businesses and establish a replacement for LEADER structural funding.
“We always knew Brexit would damage the region but this analysis lays out in clear terms how vulnerable it is to the impact of Brexit.”
Mr Mundell said: “I don’t think there are any surprises in the report. The important thing in managing any negative impact is to leave with a deal.”
On his backing for Mr Johnson’s policy, Mr Mundell said: “We have to make a decision. We can’t allow this to go on incessantly.
“The public is looking to MPs to make a decision and last Saturday was an opportunity to do that. I didn’t vote for the Oliver Letwin amendment; passing it has delayed the process.
“Most people I meet on the doorstep while I’ve been out and about want the issue resolved.
“There are Remainers, who have accepted the result and want us to get on with it, and there are others who want the whole thing to end and stay in the EU.
“That would be contrary to the outcome of the referendum. We need to honour that result.
“My view, too, is that we need to get on with it. Boris Johnson has got a deal – and people were sceptical he could do it – and the best outcome for this region, Scotland and the UK is to leave on the basis of that deal.
“Today (Tuesday) I will support the withdrawal bill. If we can’t get it through, the only way to resolve it is to have a general election and people can decide whether they want a government which pursues the deal, stops Brexit or holds another referendum.
“Another referendum would not sort it once and for all. If it overturned the original decision, people, who voted to leave in 2016, would feel their vote was worthless and that would seriously undermine the democratic process.”
Mr Mundell disagreed that people were lied to by the Vote Leave campaign in 2016.
He said: “It’s a very weighted statement to say people were lied to. People voted to leave for all sorts of reasons.”
Mr Mundell, who has been an MP for 14 years, said he was standing again and it would up to voters to decide on his re-election.