Today MPs will have just five hours to scrutinise and debate the EU (Future Relationship) Bill, which puts the EU-UK trade deal into law.

As I write, the Bill hasn’t been published. The deal we are voting on is over 1,200 pages long including annexes. And yet this deal is threadbare. It’s bad for jobs, bad for businesses, bad for security and it’s bad for our environment.

Like you, I really want to move forward and to see our community united again after four years of division. But this deal, which will wrap our enterprises in red tape rather than cutting it, isn’t something I can support.

None of us voted or campaigned for more bureaucracy, longer delays and higher costs. For new, profitable businesses to be built outside the UK to avoid all the added paperwork and sheer lack of flexibility in where employees can work. For continued anxiety and uncertainty for our automotive industry. For the loss of opportunities to study in Europe and learn vital skills. For just days to prepare.

Boris Johnson wants the country to think there is only one choice: vote for the deal or accept no deal. But the Lib Dems have consistently made the point that the Government, during this global pandemic, could have extended the negotiating period and negotiated a deal that puts lives and jobs first.

Businesses in our community are in shock and they are frustrated – during a pandemic that has ravaged our economy and has devastated them, a last-minute trade deal to prepare for could be the straw that broke the camel’s back. That’s why a grace period is so important, especially for our small local businesses.

Right now, Business owners are just trying to figure out how to make this work. But in the months and years to come, the inadequacies of this trade deal will become crystal clear. As their MP, it’s my job to stand up for them and challenge the Government. Not accept a bad deal after only hours of debate.

We have the automotive industry. While avoiding a no-deal was a huge relief, this last-minute deal was too late to save many national jobs and plans to produce a number of new vehicles in the UK. And new customs requirements and rules will make investing in our car industry more expensive and time consuming.

Then there are all the freelancers, sole traders and consultants. Nothing in the trade agreement helps them. A constituent in this position emailed me yesterday to say she’s worried she’ll be ‘bottom of the pile’ for new contracts with EU firms. Our knowledge economy isn’t being protected.

And then there’s what this deal means for cooperation, collaboration and education between us and the European community. While staying in Horizon Europe is a relief, choosing to leave the Erasmus exchange programme is an utter betrayal of young people across the UK.

In January, the PM told MPs that “there is no threat to the Erasmus scheme”, and the Government voted against my amendment to guarantee our future membership. That tells me all I need to know about what the Conservatives really think.

So, I won’t be supporting Boris Johnson’s deal. I have no doubt it will pass with the Tories’ and Labour’s backing, My job is to represent all my constituents who will be impacted by this trade deal.

And for them, a green and pleasant land where the UK will become a thriving global economy is a long way off. This deal will make all that more difficult.