I have believed since the referendum that Britain must respect the result and leave the EU.
I have also consistently supported the view that the best way to respect the decision of the 52% who voted to leave - and who had, don't forget, done so on the basis that they were promised a trade deal - while meeting as many as possible of the concerns of the 48% who voted Remain was to leave the EU with a deal.
Whatever they may say now, virtually none of those who campaigned to leave in 2016 described "no deal" as their preferred option.
Many people have argued - and were right to argue - that your negotiating power when trying to reach any agreement is practically zero if you rule out the option of walking away, and therefore it would be a mistake to take "no deal" completely off the table, if you even can.
I have heard experts on EU law argue convincingly that the only way to completely rule out any possibility of a "no deal" outcome before December 2020 is to abandon Brexit altogether. That is why Labour's position of saying that they want a General election but only when "No deal" is taken off the table would be more honestly presented as opposing any general election until 2021.
I do not believe that either the May deal or the Boris deal is perfect. I had serious reservations about the backstop and regard the Boris deal as better for Britain and Northern Ireland because it achieves what we were told was impossible and gets rid of the backstop.
I take the concerns of the DUP more seriously than most of those who, like me,. support the deal appear to. I do think there are issues with the alternative arrangements which are proposed. But let me explain why I don't believe that they amount to selling either Northern Ireland as a whole, or the Unionist community in particular, down the river.
First of all, we need to avoid infrastructure at the border at almost any cost, because any high friction border would wreck the economy of both parts of Ireland and even low friction infrastructure would cause huge controversy and division. The overwhelming majority of voters in every part of Ireland want to avoid that, and this deal does avoid that.
Secondly, although I don't want to see "A border in the Irish Sea" let's not kid ourselves that it does not already exist in the sense that every arrival point in Northern Ireland for goods or people travelling between the mainland and Northern Ireland is also a point at which goods or people can enter the UK from outside.
Thanks to the past activities of the IRA, checks at the airports when you fly between the British mainland and Northern Ireland are stricter than those which in some parts of the world you will find on international flights. Every port and airport in Northern Ireland already needs mechanisms to check for people and goods arriving from international destinations.
That's why, in practice, checks between the mainland and Northern Ireland are already there.
It is essential to avoid any material increased difficulty put in the way of people or goods moving between the mainland and Northern Ireland but I am convinced we can avoid such difficulties under the Boris deal.
Third and most significant is the principle of consent. The Boris deal addresses this where the backstop failed.
I would have preferred, as Boris's original negotiating position laid out, had the "special arrangements" for Northern Ireland required a double confirmation at Stormont, e.g. by both communities. The EU did not agree to that, but did agree that the special arrangements will lapse after four years
unless confirmed by a simple majority vote at Stormont. A simple majority can extend the arrangements for four years, a cross-community majority can extend them for eight. At the end of that time there is another similar vote of Northern Ireland assembly members. Each time there is a vote, a simple majority of Stormont assembly members can end the arrangement.
Voters who support the union are a majority in Northern Ireland and assembly members who do so are, and are likely to remain for many years, a majority in the Stormont assembly.
I do not believe that, when we see how it works in practice, the Boris deal will have anything like the sort of consequences for Northern Ireland which the DUP say they fear. But if it did, given that people who want to continue the union are a majority of the electorate and of the assembly, it would not be an unrealistic, unattainable or unreasonable target that they would be able to get a majority vote at Stormont to make the "special arrangements" lapse.
That is why I do not believe that this deal ignores the principle of consent and do not agree that it betrays the DUP or the people of Northern Ireland.