For our country's sake, let's get on with Brexit
Conservative MP Mike Wood on how Britain will flourish outside the EU
We are leaving the European Union in twelve months.
Despite what Tony Blair and Nick Clegg might say, there’s not going to be a second referendum, there’s no 'best of three' and Parliament is not going to overrule the historic decision the British people took in the referendum.
From March 29 next year, the United Kingdom will not be a member of the EU.
That means we need to get on with it.
I was the only Black Country MP to support Brexit. However, it doesn’t matter whether you backed Leave or Remain; we all need to work together to make Brexit a success, instead of trying to re-fight the referendum campaign.
People had different reasons for voting for Leave – just as people had different reasons for voting for Remain – but the result was driven by a wish for Britain to take back control of our money, of our borders, of our trade and of our laws.
We must take back that control or people will rightly feel badly let down.
People say that politicians are all the same, but two recent Brexit speeches could hardly have been more different.
On Monday, Jeremy Corbyn announced a dangerous U-turn on Labour policy, promising to keeping Britain inside a customs union with the EU.
Labour’s election manifesto promised to 'develop ‘best-in-class’ free trade and investment agreements that remove trade barriers'.
A customs union would make this impossible. We would not be able to negotiate our own trade deals at all; instead Jeremy Corbyn would hand those powers back to Brussels to negotiate on our behalf.
Instead of being able to make it easier for West Midlands firms to export to fast-growing economies around the world, we would be unable to negotiate a deal without the EU’s permission.
By 2030, 90 per cent of global economic growth is forecast to come from outside the EU. A customs union would leave Britain powerless to benefit from this, costing high-quality jobs.
Even worse, we would be bound by the terms of the EU’s trade deals and any new deals, but without being able to benefit from those terms applying to our businesses when they want to export abroad.
At the moment, the UK can block EU trade deals that threatens our National Health Service or other vital public services.
If Jeremy Corbyn gets his way then we would have to adopt any deal the EU negotiates, but would lose our voice in the process and our veto.
No other country in Europe runs its health system the same way as the NHS. Would the EU really put our interests first?
Sadly, Jeremy Corbyn’s plan betrays traditional Labour voters who believed he would stand up for their jobs and our country.
He’s caught in a tug-of-war between Labour’s hard-core Remainers in North London and traditional working class supporters in the Midlands who voted heavily for Brexit.
When Labour’s shadow cabinet has as many MPs from Islington as from the whole West Midlands region, it’s not surprising that Corbyn abandoned the concerns and aspirations of people in the Black Country.
People here are fed up with Labour MPs saying “I respect the referendum result, but…”.
Compare this with the Prime Minister’s speech setting out a realistic but ambitious plan for a trading relationship that protects British jobs and businesses, but takes back the control the referendum promised.
She called for a free trade agreement but, crucially, opposed the UK remaining in the Customs Union or Single Market.
Staying in the single market would mean implementing new EU legislation automatically, and continued free movement, while staying in the customs union would be incompatible with an independent trade policy.
Theresa May proposed two options for a customs arrangement with the EU to make sure that goods can be traded easily across borders, but without having to surrender control over our own taxes and trade policy.
We won’t get everything our own way but it is in Britain and the EU’s interests to reach a good deal that allows our firms to trade freely, consumers to buy the products they choose at the best price, and police and security services to continue to cooperate in the fight against terrorism and international crime.
A good deal, along the lines set out by Theresa May, will genuinely respect the result of the referendum.
The UK has a bright future after Brexit.
It should be no surprise when Britain flourishes outside the EU. We have one of the world’s largest and most successful economies.
Our legal system and language recognised around the world. We have record levels of employment, a skilled workforce, world-class education and a world-beating record of innovation and development.
As the Prime Minister said in her speech, we all have a shared interest in getting this right. Now, for our country’s sake, let’s get on with it.