IN THE first of a new monthly column in the Advertiser, North West Hampshire MP reflects on the Brexit process.

TWO years ago 17.4 million people voted to leave the EU: More people than have voted for anything else in Britain ever. Whether they were initially for leave or remain, the vast majority of MPs are fully committed to delivering that result and getting the best deal we can.

The EU Withdrawal Act was central to this and repealed the 1972 European Communities Act while transplanting the corpus of EU law into British law.

Last week the bill completed its final steps through the Houses of Parliament, 11 months after it was first introduced. It was a long and drawn out process. Parliament spent more than 250 hours debating the law, with more than 1,400 amendments tabled.

One would have been forgiven for thinking that it is a complicated piece of legislation. The House of Lords and the opposition certainly endeavoured to make it so with the amendments they proposed. However, at its core it is not. It is about preparing our statute book for our time as an independent country and ensuring that we have a functioning legal system after we leave. With this act our departure should be smooth and orderly. The proposed amendments would have jeopardised this.

As I write in Parliament in the days following the important votes, the government is set to continue the negotiations. The proposed changes would have weakened our position in talks and were rightly rejected by a relatively comfortable margin after the prime minister assured colleagues that Parliament will continue to play a role.

Last week had been discussed as a pivotal moment, but I am pleased that the elected House of Commons voted the way it did, twice rejecting the House of Lords amendments. People across North West Hampshire and the rest of the country are keen for the government to press ahead and complete our departure and the passage of the act make that possible. Despite excitement in the newspapers, the talks are still on track. The fact remains that a deal is in the interests of both sides and we should all now stand behind the prime minister and her negotiating team, imbuing them with the strength and fortitude that is our hallmark as a nation.