COLUMN: Brexit is on course
I'm pleased to report that Brexit negotiations are steaming ahead, and that I genuinely feel we are closer than ever to being an independent sovereign nation again.
Despite media reports of delays, the Prime Minister was very clear in her speech that we are leaving the EU in March 2019 as promised.
Everyone in Government recognises the importance of delivering Brexit on time and honouring the result of the referendum.
Unfortunately after hearing some of the speeches in th EU Withdrawal Bill debate a few weeks ago, I can’t say the same of all opposition members.
The Prime Minister and the Brexit Secretary David Davis laid out their policy plans over the summer, in a number of policy papers that you can get hold of from my office, if you’re interested.
They talked about reducing migration and ending free movement, about trading around the whole world at our leisure, and about ensuring that we continue to have a strong relationship with Europe so we can share information on security and combat terrorism.
The priority is delivering the best economic deal on that basis, and getting the best access for our businesses to the European markets.
That might mean a period of implementation to make sure the transition from EU membership to independence is as smooth as possible, but I want to be very clear from the off that this is not a delay.
We are leaving in March 2019, and by that date we will already have restrictions in place on immigration, and we’ll be free at that point to make our own laws and change them if we like.
The implementation period will happen after we leave, and is simply to give our businesses time to react and make the necessary changes as smoothly as possible.
Securing British jobs for people here at home is vitally important, and that means supporting our businesses.
So the important thing to take away is this: We’re on course to leave the EU in March 2019 as promised.
At that point we’ll no longer be members and we’ll have the freedom to make our own laws, and to restrict immigration.
Then we’ll give businesses the time and support to react to the changes by allowing them to phase out the old systems and embrace the new, to protect our jobs in Britain. I’m sitting down with both the Brexit Minister and the PM in the coming weeks to talk this through and share your views.
But I believe things are really positive and I’m optimistic for the future.