The recent decision by the High Court, and todays Supreme Court judgement to give Parliamentary approval to the triggering of Article 50 is the first step in restoring full sovereignty to Parliament.
I would like to be clear. The decision has been made, Plymouth and the country has spoken, and I will vote to trigger Article 50 and vote to leave the European Union.
Once Article 50 has been triggered, the next stages of negotiation are crucial. I will use the influence I have to ensure both Britain and Plymouth get the best deal possible out of the coming negotiation. As the Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Fisheries, I will be lobbying the Government on withdrawal from the Common Fisheries Policy and its replacement. I recently put down a Parliamentary Question asking if the Government plans to use fisheries policy as a bargaining tool for other policies they aspire to, or if it will be conducted on its own. Robin Walker MP, a Minister at the Department for Exiting the European Union, replied saying ‘We want to have reached an agreement about our future partnership, which will cover issues such as fisheries, by the time the two-year Article 50 process has concluded. We seek a new and equal partnership – between an independent, self-governing, Global Britain and our friends and allies in the EU. As we negotiate that partnership, we will be driven by some simple principles: we will provide as much certainty and clarity as we can at every stage.’ I have consistently called for British waters to be brought under national control, and through my new position I will be meeting with the Fisheries minister in the coming weeks to seek assurances on the Government’s stance.
My most immediate concerns surround businesses and institutions around my constituency. Businesses such as Babcock and Princess Yachts must be given every confidence that they can continue operating as smoothly as they are currently. Plymouth Marine Laboratories, The Marine Biological Association, and Plymouth University must also be able to keep Plymouth’s global reputation for marine science engineering and research. The science base is pivotal to our local economy, and attracts some of the best and brightest from all over the world to conduct world leading research. However, this must be balanced with the very real concern over immigration that I heard on the doorstep during the campaign.
The Prime Ministers recent speech laid out the Government’s negotiating aims, terms, and expected outcomes. From her speech, it is now clear that immigration will be a red line for Britain, with an end to free movement of people. Another of the main points mentioned was that we are to leave the Single Market. This ensures that Britain can truly be an open country, trading and interacting with the rest of the world once again. My position is that we must have a clean break from Europe. As the Prime Minister said, we now have the opportunity to be an outward looking truly global country once again, interacting with governments and markets all over the world and forging our own path towards prosperity.
Before we leave, the Government will introduce the Great Repeal Bill to adopt all EU law into British law. This allows us to start to pick the bits of EU law that we like, and repeal and amend the bits that Parliament deems unhelpful. When the Great Repeal Bill passes, we will withdraw from the Treaty of Rome laying the groundwork for us to leave the Single Market and separate ourselves from the European Union fully.
With our leaving, trade has become vitally important in our commitment to delivering an economy that works for everyone. With the Prime Minister forming the new Department for International Trade headed by The Rt. Hon Dr. Liam Fox MP, I have complete confidence that the government will make the best deals to ensure an even more prosperous nation post-Brexit. Throughout my life, both in public and private, I’ve held a strong interest in the politics of southern Africa. As a result, I have offered myself as a Trade Envoy to southern Africa. Better trade with the region would create more jobs, drive up productivity, and increase wages for people in Plymouth, and the country.
I understand that there are still many who have reservations about leaving, but I hope the Prime Ministers speech provides some reassurance that although we are embarking on a process of leaving the European Union, we will not be leaving Europe. The relationships we have forged - both with Europe and the rest of the world, will endure this process - and the Prime Minister’s speech confirms our commitment to achieving the best possible deal for all Britons.