Brexit and Britain’s future

Last year I voted to Remain in the EU. But the majority of people did not. So I respect this democratic decision and believe that as your MP my job would be to work constructively to get the best possible deal for the UK.

The Government must be scrutinised in its work and held to account. I would also expect Parliament to have a vote on the eventual deal. However my focus is on getting the right deal for Britain and then deciding what kind of country we want, once we have left. I want us to be an outward-looking, trading nation, working with friendly countries in Europe and around the globe. We must also remain a welcoming country to visitors.

This page sets out a short summary of my views on the various issues which people have raised with me about Brexit.

The rights of EU citizens

I want to see those EU citizens who are settled here to have their rights agreed as soon as possible. This, however, must come as part of an agreement about the rights of UK citizens living in the EU. Both Theresa May and the EU Commission have indicated they wish to come to an agreement.

Firm but fair controls on migration

We should replace the existing freedom of movement with controlled migration. This will mean measuring and managing the flow of workers to and from the UK. One option is a work permit system. We shall need to invest in and modernise our borders and passport systems and we must distinguish between different types of people, such as students, workers and tourists when managing the net migration into the UK.

Trading with the EU

Whilst I would prefer us to remain a member of the single market, the EU will not agree to this. Instead the negotiations will be about the terms and conditions for accessing the single market. Tariffs need to be kept to a minimum, but I personally believe that non-tariff barriers (such as industry standards and other regulations) are likely to be of greater concern.

Food & Farming

For 40 years our farming policy has been determined within the EU. Leaving offers the chance of real change. We should want to keep our current standards of environmental protection and good animal welfare. However I also believe we need to help our excellent farmers and food producers become more competitive in the global market.

Beyond Brexit

The Government’s twelve point plan set out by the Prime Minister was in my view measured and realistic. The aim is for an amicable ‘divorce’ from the EU and to then develop a new, positive relationship with our neighbours.

So on matters, for example, concerning security or counter-terrorism it’s clear that there will be new arrangements put in place for us to collaborate with our neighbours. I would very surprised if these aren’t made an early priority. We must remain an active and full member of NATO.

On trade I am a realist. We already trade with many countries without having a free trade agreement. So we should first focus on increasing our exports, and increasing the number of firms who export –which is currently just 11%. Trade agreements will take time and we must always focus on getting the best deal, but we will be able to create new opportunities, over time, with a good number of large markets.

I also want us to take this opportunity to re-think our approach to skills and training, to harnessing new technologies and to what sort of food and farming we want in the future.  We also need to think about how we can reduce the regulatory burden for small firms and start-ups. There will be new opportunities to forge relationships with non-EU universities and research bodies.

So if we focus on where the opportunities lie, I believe we can turn this change to our benefit. It’s something this country has done in the past and I believe we should focus on this – a dynamic, modern and open Britain whose horizons are global.