Brexit

It is important that Boris Johnson, as Prime Minister, addresses the Brexit issue. My own view is that we need to move forward and deliver Brexit properly, in line with promises made in our manifesto in 2017. This means leaving the customs union, leaving the single market, leaving the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice and stopping sending billions of pounds each year to the European Union.

I do also want to see the UK starting actual trade negotiations with the EU to take us into the future, instead of just talking about how we leave. Putting trading arrangements in place is what really matters, to the UK and the remaining countries of the EU, and that is what we ought to focus on. The Irish backstop is being made out to be a major stumbling block, but it needn't be. The EU says it wants to protect the integrity of the single market, yet the EU only physically checks 1.3% of all goods entering it, so how can a relatively few goods - only 1.5% of all Ireland's imports come from Northern Ireland - going from Northern Ireland into Ireland be a problem?  Far more important to Ireland is their trade with Great Britain, and that's what they should be focusing on. The Trusted Trader Scheme and checking goods away from the border are just two examples of ways forward.

Boris wants to leave the EU on 31st October with a deal in place. This might mean we end up with one large deal in place, or perhaps a series of smaller ones which cover a number of areas such as aviation and lorry transportation. And leaving without a deal doesn't mean that there will never be a deal - again, we need to get down to discussing trade policies and not just how we leave. The Prime Minister will therefore step up preparations for a no deal Brexit, so that the UK is ready for any eventuality, but that is not his preferred option. Nevertheless, he is determined to deliver on the result of the referendum.

I don't believe we need to hold another referendum on the matter because that would not make negotiations any easier. Also, holding a further referendum would make people feel that their votes don't matter because we have already held one referendum and not implemented the results of that one yet. The country has already voted to leave in 2016 and a large majority of people voted for Brexit-supporting parties at the General Election in 2017. We now need to get on and do it.

For my part, I voted for Brexit and at the last General Election I told the electorate that that is what I would fight to deliver. I don't intend going back on my word.

News

Trade Deals with the USA

It is very encouraging that the USA has said that they very much want to do trade deals with the UK when we leave the EU, probably sector by sector to start with.