Why I voted to trigger leaving the EU
In the run-up to the referendum, I believed that the considerable short-term risks of leaving the European Union outweighed the unquantifiable future benefits, but I underestimated the deep mistrust of the European Union.
The people have decided to leave. I must respect that decision, and I will support this Bill.
The hard work now begins. For example, how do we access the benefits of free trade and the inspection-free transfer of goods from outside EU structures such as the single market and the customs union? Some believe that nothing is possible, but that the alternative to working for success is to hope that things go badly—even to will it—to be ceaselessly critical and, ultimately, to achieve only an echo of Private Fraser’s lament, “We’re all doomed.”
Although none of us has perfect foresight, I am absolutely confident that we will have much greater success in lining up future free trade agreements than some people have suggested.
The negotiations will begin soon. In my view, we need an agreement in which we are generous to Europeans living here, enthusiastic in our continuation of academic and research co-operation, and resolute in our solidarity with Europe on defence and security.
In that agreement, we must be practical about ways of controlling immigration but welcoming to skills, tourists and entrepreneurs; we must be free of the European Court of Justice, but never compromise on standards or the rule of law; and we must be adventurous in pursuing our own trade deals, but never underestimate the importance of free trade and easy customs clearance in all that we do with Europe.
That is what I hope the Government’s White Paper will lay out. I hope that it will bring our one nation of diverse parts together. Whatever our concerns about the journey, we should start positively, not cynically.
Do let me know what you think Brexit should look like at email@example.com.