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WEBCHAT GUIDELINES: 1. One question per member plus one follow-up. 2. Keep your question brief. 3. Don't moan if your question doesn't get answered. 4. Do be civil/polite. 5. If one topic or question threatens to overwhelm the webchat, MNHQ will usually ask for people to stop repeating the same question or point.

Webchat with Anna Soubry on Brexit and beyond - Tuesday 22 January at 10.30am
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BojanaMumsnet · 21/01/2019 10:31

Hello

We’re pleased to announce a webchat with Anna Soubry MP to discuss all things Brexit. Anna was a Remain campaigner and currently supports calls for a second referendum. Anna made headlines a couple of weeks ago when she was harassed outside Parliament and urged the police to take more action.

Anna has been the Conservative MP for Broxtowe since the 2010 General Election. After more than a year attending Cabinet as Minister of State for Small Business, Anna chose to return to the backbenches in July 2016, be able to represent her views on the “positive benefits of immigration and the EU.”

Please do join the chat on Tuesday at 10.30am, or if you can’t make it, leave a question here in advance.

We’re expecting this to be a busy webchat, so only existing Mumsnet users are able to post on this thread.

As always, please remember our webchat guidelines - one question per user, follow-ups only if there’s time and most questions have been answered and please keep it civil. Also if one topic is overwhelmingly dominating a discussion with a guest, mods might request that people don't continue to post what's effectively the same question or point. Rest assured we will ALWAYS let the guest know that it's an area of concern to multiple users and will encourage them to engage with those questions.

And finally - we did have a pro-Brexit webchat guest lined up for this week (Jacob Rees Mogg) but they cancelled on us so we’re trying to line up a replacement as we speak.

Many thanks.

The official portrait of Anna Soubry is used under an Attribution 3.0 Unported licence - image may be cropped for purpose.

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bellinisurge · 21/01/2019 11:28

I'm sorry you had to endure that horribleness. There is obviously a groundswell of anger arising from the government's austerity programme which right-wing nutters are tapping into and trying to hijack. How do you propose we tackle the problems that austerity has brought? Assuming we leave AND if we don't leave, after all.

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StephanieNicks · 21/01/2019 11:34

Hello Anna

How do you justify supporting Theresa May's government in the vote of no confidence when you had voted against her Withdrawal Agreement. Why put the Tory Party before the best interest of your country?

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lalalonglegs · 21/01/2019 11:50

Hi Anna

First, can I thank you for being such a stalwart in the fight against Brexit. The way that you and other Conservative rebels have been treated has been absolutely shocking and I am grateful to you for continuing to speak up for the Remain cause despite the horrors that you have to face in doing so.

My question is: how worried are you about losing your seat if there is a snap election? Do you think a general election will give the government (or the opposition) a clearer mandate to go forward with Brexit?

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BlueEyeshadow · 21/01/2019 13:18

Thank you for the stance you have taken on Brexit. Some kind of compromise is needed now, but how can we get there when the PM is refusing to back down on any of her "red lines"?

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HerLadySheep · 21/01/2019 13:22

Do you think that there will be shortages of medicine and food in the event of a no-deal Brexit?

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Mrsr8 · 21/01/2019 13:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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whenthewhistleblows · 21/01/2019 13:42

What do you say to those who say that a second referendum on membership of the EU would be undemocratic?

If there was a second referendum, what question(s) would you propose the electorate vote on and , in particular, would back an alternative vote in this instance?

Thank you for all you have done to protect our national interests and I’m sorry you have been subject to so much vitriol.

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Hazardswans · 21/01/2019 13:42

Thank you for making a stand particularly given the escalating climate of violence surrounding Brexit. I am sorry to hear of your continued support of the conservatives.

Given how peculiar May is behaving, jeopardizing peace in Nothern Ireland for example, what exactly will it take for Article 50 to be revoked?

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onalongsabbatical · 21/01/2019 14:28

Hi Anna, firstly, can I just say I think you’ve been a shining light in the darkness in this mess, along with a few others, from across party lines.

I’m not sure how to articulate my question to be honest, but here’s a stab at it. One of the things I feel I am increasingly observing is that this is really about so much more than Brexit, and also about much more than those people whose vote was a howl of protest at feeling ignored; I think it’s also about the fundamentals of politics undergoing a deep and possibly cataclysmic change. I think we might be seeing political allegiances re-forming in new ways after Brexit (if we ever get to anything resembling ‘after’ Brexit). For instance, the idea that you and Mr Rees Mogg are similar political animals seems more than faintly ludicrous. I would have thought that you had more in common with – these are only examples off the top of my head – Vince Cable, Hilary Benn, Caroline Lucas and Keir Starmer. I know prediction is nonsense a lot of the time but I guess I’m wondering whether you feel the party divisions in British politics are being in any sense re-drawn, and if so any further thoughts you have on this – that you feel able to share here, obviously!

I know, I know, I only get one question. But here’s another one; or an observation. Personally I think the greatest challenge we all face in any country or of any political persuasion is climate change. I think we are at the time when the people who profess to lead us (a problematic concept in itself, especially where we stand in history) are going to have to make some extremely unpopular decisions. The one I usually give as an example is that flying is very soon going to have to be restricted. Failure to make these decisions is going to result in the breakdown of society. Most people on some level probably know and understand this but prefer to remain with their heads in the sand. Hence we still need people capable of actual leadership. Leadership is only possible if the people who lead can stomach being unpopular and can take decisions that are not based on their personal nor their party interest. I understand that the flaw in this is that they then risk losing power. Climate change, then, will have to be addressed cross-party and outside of political allegiances. This relates to my first question anyway. We’re in big trouble in my opinion and the generation coming up are very soon going to be extremely angry as they get to the stage of reason. Thoughts?

Sorry, almost an essay. Any thoughts gratefully received. Thank you so much. I hope you take strength from knowing that there are many people who don't share your political allegiances but nevertheless appreciate your principled stand and bravery in the face of abuse and who support you.

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RhubarbIsEvil · 21/01/2019 15:21

Anna

You are the only sane voice amongst this carnage.

My question: will the world ever take the U.K. seriously again? I am so embarrassed to be British at the moment 🤦‍♀️

Please stand for PM.

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derxa · 21/01/2019 15:21

I voted Remain but I think you should all have backed the WA. You're all heading towards No Deal. Thanks a lot. Stop posturing on GMB and think of how the country is suffering in the uncertainty.

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freezinguplands · 21/01/2019 15:40

Thank you for standing up for what you believe is in the best interests of the country despite the abuse and harassment you have received.

I am seriously alarmed at the no deal we seem to be hurtling towards. I understand why some who feel they have little to lose support it I don't understand why those in Parliment are incapable of understanding the risks. Do you hold out any hope of getting a majority of balanced thinkers to hold sway there?

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OhYouBadBadKitten · 21/01/2019 15:50

placemarking for when I have time.

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StephanieNicks · 21/01/2019 15:58

@derxa - do you have an actual question for Anna?

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reallybadidea · 21/01/2019 16:06

Anna, realistically what do you think is the best possible outcome regarding Brexit and what should MPs be doing to achieve this?

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FATEdestiny · 21/01/2019 16:24

You are my MP. I voted for you and I voted for Remain. But, as you are aware, a majority in Broxtowe voted for Leave, 45.4% to 54.6%

I am torn by the fact that I cannot turn my back on democratic decision. I "won" the election, in that conservatives won. But I "lost" the referendum and Vote Leave won. While I don't like this, I accept it as democratic.

How do you justify the fact that your constituency voted Leave and you are not representing them in that vote?

(I cannot accept the argument that we did not have the facts when voting in the referendum - although that is totally true. Often in general elections, manifesto promises are not met and figures massaged. If we start a precedent that we can discount a vote on the basis that campaign facts were untrue, this will have significant effects on general elections)

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Mrsr8 · 21/01/2019 16:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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TresDesolee · 21/01/2019 16:57

Hello Anna

I heard you talking about immigration and about how you talk to anti-immigration constituents about the topic - I think it was on the Nick Robinson podcast a while back. You were really impressive.

I think lots of us understand that MPs are frightened about how some of the public behave towards them, especially after Jo Cox’s murder. Do you think MPs should have more protection or security than they currently do? Or is it more that you think the police should do more with the powers they already have?

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ThereWillBeAdequateFood · 21/01/2019 17:02

Thanks for being so outspoken. You’ve got real guts and some of the abuse you’ve suffered has been appalling.

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OhYouBadBadKitten · 21/01/2019 17:10

I'd like to thank you as well Anna, for sticking up for your principles and maintaining your dignity when it seems like the government has lost any sense of real principles.

The hostile environment that has been created affects my friends and my family. They feel unwelcome here, despite this being their home.
People are worrying about lifesaving and life enhancing medication (myself included), stockpiling of food has started, jobs are being lost or relocated. It feels like we are preparing for a major war that need not be had.

I don't really have a question, other than, can we turn this around before we crash off the cliff?

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fenneltea · 21/01/2019 17:12

I'm another that would like to know why you aren't representing the majority of your constituents who voted to leave. Does it not show contempt to your voters as you feel you know better than them and are actively working against their wishes?

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Kummerspeck · 21/01/2019 17:19

Hi Anna
I had 2 builders at my house just before the vote, neither of them had voted before as they thought it would have no real effect but were voting in this "once in a lifetime" referendum that they were told would be binding
They were both from families that traditionally worked in a local industry now destroyed by EU policies. They had gone into building instead and were now battling to earn enough to keep their homes and families due to being undercut by East Europeans who shared HMOs while their local area suffered from shops and facilities closing as money was not being spent locally.
There has been large EU investment round here but all in things that local families do not benefit from directly or cannot afford

How would you defend your actions in trying to block Brexit to people like them? Do you think there is a danger you are undermining democracy?

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Violetparis · 21/01/2019 17:20

Thank you for coming on here to answer questions. If there was another vote on no confidence in the government how would you vote ?

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HowDoYouFeelNow · 21/01/2019 17:29

Hi Anna

Firstly I want to say a massive thank you to you for speaking up for what you believe in. The abuse you've received as a result is vile and utterly appalling.

I have so many questions, but I'll settle for asking if you believe the government is trying to run down the clock on Brexit? I just can't believe Mrs May's arguments to the contrary.

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Yaralie · 21/01/2019 17:40

Most MPs voted to Remain in 2016. The exact number may have changed since the 2017 election but I think it is probably still true that most MPs know that our country will be damaged by any kind of brexit and a no-deal brexit would be catastrophic. We live in a Parliamentary democracy and MPs are paid to exercise their best judgement.

In spite of the fact that the referendum was ill-conceived, fraudulent and won by lies, Mrs May has done her best to follow the advice of the leave voters to try to negotiate with the EU. Obviously we were never going to get as good a deal outside the EU as we have now, but I think that Mrs May has as good a deal as we will be offered. I do not think that any other potential Tory leader or Mr Corbyn could get a better deal at this stage. However Mrs May's deal has proved to be unacceptable to most MPs.

We are running out of time. Extending Article 50 requires the agreement of all the other 27 EU nations. They will be reluctant to allow an extension without good reason, and then only for a short time because of the up-coming EU elections.

It may be possible to arrange another referendum but, although most people should by now be much better informed than they were in 2016, and should understand that any brexit would leave us worse off, there is a real danger that the same malign forces which operated in 2016 could persuade people to believe their lies again.

Do you agree that the best way forward would be for Article 50 to be revoked?

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