Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Newspaper column 30 August 2017 - Back to Brexit

We are now at the end of the summer season and schools will be back next week and I will be heading back to Parliament. But what a great Bank Holiday Weekend we have had to finish off the summer. As is usually the case the past six weeks have flown by but it has been really good to be home in Cornwall and getting around the constituency. One of the real benefits of the summer recess is not only the chance of spending time at home but also to have time to meet local people, visit businesses and charities and catch up with all that is going on locally.

Thank you to everyone who, as always, has made me welcome and taken the time to meet with me.
But now thoughts return to Parliamentary business and what lies ahead and there is no doubt that one issue will dominate as it has done for the past 18 months – Brexit.

Whilst the negotiations for the UK to leave the EU continue, we are expecting to debate and vote on the legislation that will pave the way for us to leave and incorporate current EU legislation and regulation into the UK – what has become known as the Great Repeal Bill. The actual name of the bill is, however, the European Union (withdrawal) Bill 2017-19 and is due to begin its 2nd Reading on 7th September.

This Bill will be one of the most significant and potentially complex pieces of legislation to pass through Parliament for many years. It is bound to be hotly debated and contested but it is essential that we pass this bill in order to ensure continuity and that we are not left with a legal vacuum. By taking all EU laws into the UK law we can provide the certainty businesses will need when we actually leave and then over the coming years decide what changes we wish to make in order to suit the UK.

As we have become custom to, there have been the usual political debate in recent weeks from both sides of this issue. The Government has issued a number of position papers which have provided a clearer picture of the way forward in our negotiations to leave. We have also seen the Labour Party change their position once again and now say that they wish us to remain in the Single Market for an undefined period of time after we leave.

I continue to hold the view that this is not what people voted for on 23rd June last year – especially the 62% of people in our constituency who voted to leave. We voted to regain control of our laws, borders and money. The single market is at the heart of this and if we continue to be a member of the single market we may as well remain in the EU entirely. We would have to continue to be subject to free movement of people and the EU courts and very little would actually change.

Although there is talk of a short transition period to allow business to adjust once we know what our new relationship with the EU will be, I believe this needs to be for as short a period as possible. We need to press on and make a clean break. Anything else would be a denial of the democratic decision our country made in the referendum.