292018Nov

Weekly Column 29.11.18

Hundreds of people have contacted me about the Brexit deal. I am supporting the Prime Minister because now more than ever we need to get behind the leadership and pull together to deliver Brexit. The referendum produced a leave result and I am committed to honouring that result – I honestly believe that anything else would ride roughshod over democracy.

I have spent time reading the document (nearly 600 pages) and considering your correspondence. The overriding local feeling has been a desire to get on with Brexit and deliver on the referendum result. There is a real danger that we will end up with a Corbyn government and no Brexit if we are not careful – division and inaction will not get us to the finish line in March.

To be frank this deal is not perfect, but it was never going to be, and it was always going to be impossible to please everyone. The agreement has been misrepresented by some who are yet to read it.

For one there was always going to have to be an exit fee, irrespective of the transition period, because of our financial commitments and to fail to do so would hardly stand us in good stead for forging a future working relationship. There was also always going to have to be a degree of harmonisation to negotiate trade agreements.

Safeguarding local jobs has always been my priority when it comes to the Brexit agenda and the crucial thing now is to ensure we have the stability and economic confidence to secure local jobs. The deal would achieve this and has been welcomed by numerous national and local leading employers, whilst ending free movement of labour, ending annual fees to the EU, taking back control of our laws, ending the jurisdiction of the ECJ, ensuring no hard border in Northern Ireland and meaning that we would leave the Common Agricultural Policy and be out of the Common Fisheries Policy.

Notably for business the EU will remain a free trade area for goods with zero tariffs and we have secured ambitious arrangements for trade in services, alongside new arrangements on financial services and we will keep visa-free travel for tourists and short-term business visits.

I do have concerns over our ability to exit the backstop (should we end up in it) and this is the main area that I have challenged but I do believe that this deal is better than a no deal. I have submitted the concerns aired by my constituents, however the main message continues to be ‘get on with it and deliver Brexit’.

To conclude – I was elected as your MP on a manifesto to deliver Brexit and that is what I plan to do.