I understand the very strong feelings that have been evoked by this issue, which was the most important decision the country has faced in a generation. It was absolutely right that we gave that choice to the British people as we promised to do, and it is vital that we now accept and respect the result.
There were strong arguments on both sides of the debate, but on balance, I concluded that leaving the EU was the outcome that would best serve our national interest. I have huge respect for David Cameron, and believe that he secured the best that he could have done in the circumstances.
People voted by a margin of more than a million votes to take back control from Brussels, for Britain to write her own laws, control immigration and look beyond the EU for more trade and commerce. This is a clear instruction from the British people to the government that we should leave the EU. Here in Fareham, people voted by a clear majority in favour of that outcome. The democratic choice of the people must be respected, and there cannot be any question of re-running the vote or seeking to subvert it.
Whilst I appreciate that those who voted to Remain may feel disappointed with the result, I want to reassure them that many opportunities lie ahead for Britain and it is incumbent on us all to pull together as a country to make it a success. We must all work hard to address the concerns that were raised about leaving the EU, and more than ever, we need to put previous divisions aside and engage in a calm and rational discussion. There is no room for abuse of any kind as a result of this decision. Reported racist attacks by thugs who seek to use it to stir up hatred are sickening, and should be condemned by everyone.
There is a big challenge ahead as we define our new relationship with Europe and the wider world, but I know we have the talent and experience to thrive. Politicians of all parties, however they voted, must now commit themselves to implement this decision, and deliver a favourable settlement for Britain in the months and years ahead.
I appreciate that many of my constituents have very specific and valid questions, which the answers are not yet available for. After a vigorous leadership contest, the Conservatives have chosen a new leader of the Party in Theresa May, who will now lead as Prime Minister of our country. Theresa has extensive experience as one of the longest-serving Home Secretaries, is extremely competent and professional and has committed to making Britain work for everyone. She brings a reassuring calm and stability to the highest levels of government and I am pleased to support her 100%. Once Theresa May outlines her plans for the negotiations and her premiership, I will update my website accordingly as the pathway becomes more clear.
This country has a great future, and will continue to play a positive role in the world. I know that Britain will maintain her open-mindedness, tolerance, progressiveness, economic prudence and commitment to social reform. That is the Britain I love and which I am so honoured to serve in Parliament as the representative of the people of Fareham.