THIS week has been dominated by the Brexit debate.

On Tuesday, the Withdrawal Agreement was rejected by a reduced but significant majority for a second time following some enhanced assurances around mechanisms to avoid being wilfully led into the “backstop” arrangements.

Since the referendum decision in 2016 I have sought to support the majority view of my constituents to leave the EU – but I believe it is in the economic interests of our country to do so in a way which maximises the economic opportunities from a continuing close trading relationship with the EU.

I do not perceive a great risk to being in the backstop but what I see amongst those colleagues who voted against the proposed deal are motives which include stopping Brexit altogether or securing a second referendum. I believe both would be wrong and undemocratic given the scale of the turnout and the result of the 2016 Referendum.

At the time of writing, my decision now is whether to rule out, in a free vote, a No Deal outcome for March 29, which the government have been making contingency arrangements for and I have been at the heart of as a Treasury Minister.

My judgement is that, though arrangements have been made, the short-term disruption to our economy would inevitably and unavoidably be significant and this would not be in the economic interests of the country.

However, as I deliberate I have also to take account of the fact that many believe by being prepared to go down this route we will provoke further dialogue and concessions from the EU. This seems to me to be highly uncertain.

It is quite clear that our country is deeply divided. I hope that in the coming two weeks a way forward can be found but my fear is that if a greater desire for compromise is not found there is a significant risk that the referendum outcome will be delayed.