COLUMN: By 11:01pm on March 29, 2019, we’ll have our destiny back in our own hands

Ben Bradley, MP.
Ben Bradley, MP.

It’s been a while since I last updated local residents on Brexit, but in recent days and weeks things have been moving forward in Parliament as we put in place the legislation we need to secure our future once we leave the EU.

In the Queen’s Speech there were a number of Brexit bills that are now passing through the scrutiny stages in the House of Commons, as we start to lay the bricks in the Brexit wall.

The first brick, the law is that is at the most advanced stages and likely to be in place first, is the nuclear safeguards bill and I’m sitting on the committee scrutinising that document and pushing it forward. This bill ensures that our existing standards for nuclear energy and materials continue once we’ve left and gives security for the industry, for jobs and for safety. It’s a genuine honour to be a part of the process of getting our plans and contingencies in place so that we’re good to go when we leave the EU.

Another such bill is the EU withdrawal bill, which is the plan to bring all of the existing rules and regulations over in to British law. This will give us continuity and then allow us to make the changes where we need to, to better suit Britain’s interests.

When this first came to be debated a few months ago I spoke in support of it, about Mansfield’s overwhelming vote to leave and the passion that many feel about this issue locally. I also raised one issue with it; I wanted it to be clear and written in law that we must leave the EU on March 29, 2019, as promised. I said that people in Mansfield voted to leave, and that Government promised to have left by this date, so therefore the date itself should be there written in law for us all to see. I’m delighted to say that when the bill comes back to be scrutinised again in committees this week it will contain a new section that confirms the leaving date, and even the time: 11pm on March 19, 2019. That will be it. At 11:01pm we’ll be out.

I know some of this might seem a bit dry. Legislation and committees and lots of procedures and bureaucracy is not always a thrilling read. However I wanted to highlight these things because it shows that the Government is committed to leaving, and leaving on schedule as promised. Committing that time and date in to law means there is no delaying, no blocking or frustrating of Brexit… it means we’re fulfilling our manifesto commitment to honour the referendum result, and to getting us out of the EU.

It does require a lot of work and the process takes time, as we have to have the right plans and procedures in place to give ourselves the best chance of success. However things are progressing, the Brexit bills are moving forward in Parliament, and the date is set. At 11pm on March 29 of 2019 we will walk away, and we’ll have our destiny back in our own hands.