I have received a large amount of correspondence from constituents enquiring as to why I did not vote on the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill. The nature of my abstention was not voluntary. I was unable to vote due to illness and did not take the decision to miss a vote of such magnitude lightly.
An extreme and stubborn strain of the winter coughing virus is to blame. Earlier in the week I received strict instructions from both my doctor and the Government Whips to rest and recuperate at home and undertake no further engagements.
I had every intention of voting for the Bill before the House last night and will partake in future debates, deliberations and divisions on the subject, though my absence made no noticeable change to the outcome of the vote. Despite my stance during the referendum campaign, in view of the result I feel it imperative for parliament to honour the will of the people.
A swift recovery is underway.