THIS weekend, Parliament faces a moment of truth: whether or not to approve the new Brexit deal.

Boris Johnson has done what so many had dismissed as impossible. He has not only persuaded the EU to re-open negotiations, he has got them to bin the undemocratic ‘backstop’ which threatened to leave us as a rule taker.

It has been a major negotiating success. We now have a deal that ensures we can truly take back control of our laws, trade, borders and money without disruption, and which provides the basis of a new relationship with the EU based on free trade and friendly cooperation. Passing it will end the deep frustration so many of us feel, and lift the cloud of uncertainty confronting British business.

It ensures the entire UK, including Northern Ireland, will break free from the EU’s Customs Union, enabling us to strike exciting new trade deals with the fastest-growing regions of the world. The future of our great country will be firmly in our own hands. The laws under which we choose to live will be made solely by individuals elected by, and accountable to, us.

But we can only get Brexit done if Parliament votes in favour of this deal.

Saturday sittings of the House of Commons only happen very occasionally. The previous two occasions were the outbreak of the Falklands War and the Suez Crisis. We have arrived at a moment to equal those stakes.

The choice in front of each and every one of the 650 MPs is clear: do we continue with endless delays, excuses, bickering and erosion of our democracy, or do we choose to move forward as a country, united in our shared priorities of improving healthcare, security and schooling?

I know my constituents want the latter and I, for one, will be voting to make this happen.

In a hung Parliament, how the Opposition vote will be critical.

For the past three years, Labour MPs have maintained the line that they “respect the referendum” but just don’t want a “damaging no-deal Brexit”. Now is the chance for them to come good on their word and support a deal which allows us to leave in an orderly way that maintains a high standard for workers’ rights and the environment.

There have been encouraging comments from people like Blyth MP Ronnie Campbell who said: “The people of this country are just sick and tired of the shenanigans that have gone on in Parliament over the last three years. Something’s got to happen. Something’s got to break.”

Sadly, others from our region are signalling they will vote against the deal, in pursuit of a divisive second referendum. This is simply not going to happen.

These MPs are playing with fire because it is wholly unclear the EU would even permit the time needed for such a referendum. In their desperation to overturn the result, those politicians who have most noisily opposed a no-deal Brexit risk delivering exactly that.

So I enter this weekend hoping for a sensible outcome. Shakespeare famously said: “There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries.”

We have been bound in the shallows and miseries of the Brexit debate for far too long. This weekend, let us seize the tide and move our country forward.

Simon Clarke is the Conservative MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland