THE majority of West Oxfordshire residents want Brexit to happen 'as swiftly as possible', according to Witney MP Robert Courts.

Mr Courts spoke to the Witney Gazette days after the UK agreed to delay its departure from the European Union until October 31.

The Brexit-backing MP called for leavers and remainers to look past their differences and work towards a common goal.

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He said: “In West Oxfordshire, people overwhelmingly tell me we’ve had the vote, let’s come together and stop re-fighting the referendum.

“Brexit is a big issue that polarises people, but in general I don’t think people are as different as they think. "We need to stop addressing people as leavers or remainers.

“Everyone wants a relationship with our European neighbours, but what they disagree on is exactly what that is.”

The MP, who is currently spending the 12-day Parliamentary recess in his constituency, received criticism from some quarters after he finally backed Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal last month.

Mr Courts voted against the government's withdrawal agreement in the two previous meaningful votes, writing in the Gazette in December that it 'does the very opposite' of controlling Britain's destiny.

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MPs rejected the deal for a third time on March 29, the day Britain was initially set to leave the EU.

But Mr Courts was one of those to 'reluctantly' support the withdrawal agreement, calling it the 'best deal' for the country.

He said: “I’ve been outspoken in my criticism of the deal and I don’t take back a word of that.

“My views haven’t changed but the circumstances have and when that happens it’s important to look at your own position."

He added: “You have to accept with this job there’s always an element of criticism, especially on something this emotional."

Almost 54 per cent of the district voted to remain in the EU in the 2016 referendum, with some residents still holding out for a People's Vote on the final Brexit deal.

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One People's Vote member, Rosa Ashby, closed her Witney florist last week due to rising costs, adding that Brexit was the 'last straw'.

Last November, eight small businesses in the town revealed they feared the impact of Brexit, but Mr Courts claimed this showed why Brexit needs to happen as soon as possible.

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He said: “I’ve met over 200 businesses in West Oxfordshire since I was elected. They’re all different and it depends on their circumstances.

“Most businesses will say within reason that they can plan, but the uncertainty is another reason why an extension is harmful.”

“I’ll always have sympathy with businesses that aren’t able to keep going, but my job is to look to the future.”

The MP added that he felt the district would not suffer after Brexit.

He said: “I’m absolutely confident that this country and West Oxfordshire will thrive whatever the outcome of the negotiations.

“This area is full of intelligent, passionate, hardworking and inventive people. It's a wonderful place to live and that will continue.”