Kent Messenger Column - 20-01-17
It is now well over 6 months since the British people took the decision to leave the European Union. Setting aside the disgraceful campaigning on both sides, the referendum did settle a long-lingering blain and provided a clear and positive democratic mandate for our Government.
Theresa May now has an enormous task at hand in negotiating our exit and accordingly has spent the past 6 months laying the ground whilst, rightly, keeping our cards close to her chest. I for one will be doing everything I can to support the Government in making a success of this critical task and I hope colleagues and constituents will rally in this spirit. Negative bickering about leaving or remaining really must now cease.
Speaking as a former business owner and employer the other most negative aspect surrounding all of this has been uncertainty. It was therefore a huge relief this week to hear the Prime Minister set out a powerful and positive vision of how the Government aims to secure the best deal for Britain. She was bold and strategic and I rather liked her fighting talk.
Her twelve-point-plan suggests she has her ducks in a row and I welcomed the clarity she gave in finally confirming our, frankly inevitable, departure from the single market and that we will not remain a full member of the customs union.
Recognition of the need to prioritise smooth transition with the possibility of a phased implementation process will also be well received by commerce. This will be crucial to minimise the possibility of a so-called cliff-edge shock when we leave.
Furthermore, Mrs May was absolutely right to make clear that although we will be leaving the EU we are not leaving Europe. There is so much more to our relationship than trade and ongoing co-operation will be critical in the fight against crime and terrorism.
It's early days but the story so far is looking hopeful.