WORCESTER’S former MP, Mike Foster, sets out his brexit view.

“Not another article on Brexit?” Before your eyes glaze over, let’s look at where we are and what we might do to resolve the impasse. I write this without any hidden agenda – I’m not after your vote; I’m not speaking on behalf of any political party and I’m free to just say it as I see it.

“Parliament is conflicted. The MPs, who we trust to take tough decisions daily for us, are torn. This time, not on party political lines, but between what they personally believe to be right for our country and what we as voters decided in the referendum. Even those MPs who supported Brexit are split over what Brexit means, is it the May Deal rejected by MPs last week or is it No Deal?

“Some MPs are trying to seek compromise, looking at arrangements for Norway or Canada, neither being perfect as we take the rules set by the EU but have no say in changing them – hardly taking back control is it?

“Against this backdrop, we have a PM who has self-imposed ‘red lines’ which if maintained make any deal less likely and a Leader of the Opposition who refuses to enter talks when invited. Meanwhile, the minority government relies on votes from one side of the political divide in Northern Ireland to survive, while a key element of the Belfast Agreement (no return to a hard border between North and South) is central to a future trading agreement on the only land border between the UK and the EU. To add to the intrigue, public opinion seems to be shifting, slowly but steadily, against Brexit.

“Here’s my take. The clock maybe ticking, and unless something changes, we leave the EU on March 29, but there is still time for Parliament to reach agreement. MPs need to be allowed to vote on the range of options currently in question, whether that’s on a ‘free vote’ or not is open for debate. Starting with a vote on No Deal to show business that Parliament would never allow that to happen. This reassurance is needed by EU citizens who have made the UK their home and if we want to avoid any economic turbulence in the months ahead.

“Holding a second referendum, importantly, should also be considered by MPs. It offers MPs a neat way out of their dilemma, allowing the people to consider the options in the light of experience and greater knowledge of what is actually achievable. Yes, it means extending Article 50 while this takes place, avoiding No Deal, but this is better than rushing head-long into the wrong decision for our country.

“Above all, it's time for serious political leadership, something that has been lacking. I say this with regret. The vast majority of MPs (of all sides) mean well but have been badly failed by leaders unwilling or unable to put the country first.”