Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Newspaper column 22 March 2017 - Matters of Brexit

Last week the Brexit Bill was passed back through the House of Commons and the House of Lords, and received Royal Assent on Thursday 16th March. The Bill is now an Act of Parliament, and I am pleased the Prime Minister has confirmed she will now make history and trigger Article 50 on 29th March, beginning the UK’s formal exit negotiations to leave the European Union.

In the run up to the Prime Minister taking this next step, I thought it worth touching on a few of the subjects relating to Brexit that residents have recently raised with me.

Firstly regarding the status of EU citizens currently living in the UK. The Government has guaranteed to protect the rights of EU citizens currently living in the UK, as long as the EU states reciprocate and protect the rights of UK citizens currently living in EU states. This is paramount in negotiations for our Government but the EU has refused to negotiate until Article 50 is formally triggered.

Secondly, regarding fishing and farming. I see this as a great potential positive opportunity. I am determined to represent our local fishing communities and to ensure that unlike our negotiations for joining the ECC, the Government does not treat this vital industry as a bargaining chip and that we get our fishing waters and fair quotas back. Regarding farming, the Government has pledged to match Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) funding until 2020. After that we have the chance to change the way funding is applied, to make it fit for purpose by rewarding good practice and productivity instead of arbitrarily giving it to large landowners who do little to deserve it as we currently see.

Similarly, with funding for Cornwall, there is no question to this Government’s commitment here, as we have seen unprecedented investment in road and rail infrastructure both for and leading to Cornwall. As I have previously said, the current and past EU funding Cornwall has received is unwieldy and unfit for purpose. For example, despite the tourist industry being the largest economic driver in Cornwall, there is no EU funding available for it. I will do what I can to ensure the funding we do get, once the EU funding stops, is better targeted and easier to access for people and businesses who need it most.

Finally, looking at immigration, we need to be able to manage immigration in the UK’s favour to meet our social and economic needs – it isn’t a blanket stopping of all immigration and I am in favour of the Government taking steps to change our immigration policy along these lines.

All in all I see the Brexit process as about opening the UK up to the rest of the world instead of being locked into a small part of it. It is about restoring the UK as a global, outward-looking country on the international stage and I will continue to do all I can, along with my Cornish MP colleagues, to ensure Cornwall gets the best deal out of this.

As always, my team and I are here to serve the whole constituency and work hard to make a real difference to the lives of everyone needing support. If there is an issue you would like my assistance on then please contact me on either 01726 829379 or Additionally, I hold regular, appointment only, advice surgeries across the constituency. Dates of these can be found at: