Kent Messenger Column - 16-03-17
As I write (Monday 13th) MPs and Peers are today preparing to cast their historic final votes to trigger Brexit. For me this is not goodbye Europe, it is all about 'Hello Rest of the World' and a good (albeit small) example of my own international outreach took a timely step forward this week – I'll explain.
In September last year I was invited to give a lecture about the effects of Brexit in the UK to politics students at Howard University in Washington DC. Whilst there I thought, why not invite one or two of them to come here and see our politics in action for themselves?
Six months later the first (of hopefully many) trans-Atlantic mini-internships became a reality. Ms. Mirabella More Weathers and Ms. Taylor Rainey arrived today to experience a week in the life of a British MP and our legislature. They have a busy schedule in London, particularly in the Palace of Westminster, and later-on in my wonderful English Constituency of Maidstone & The Weald.
It is a huge co-incidence that their arrival takes place on such a momentous day in our political history. Quite what they will make of their time here remains to be seen and I will be asking for their candid views for next week's column – I'm sure it will make interesting reading.
By the time you read this the PM will probably have (or about to) set the formal Article 50 wheels in motion and, whichever way you voted, there is no turning back. We must now use all at our disposal to reach out and build new relationships.
My 'mini-internships' have today created a new bridge with influential and good people at Howard University in the US. Perhaps similar opportunities might become available for students from Kent, even Maidstone & The Weald, sometime soon in Washington. You can be sure I will be investigating all of the possibilities.