Unfortunately I wasn't successful in being called to speak in today's debate on the trade deal the Prime Minister has negotiated with the EU (it was heavily oversubscribed). However, I did prepare a speech, which you can read below.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, as we take time to debate the Bill on the future relationship with the European Union at the end of 2020, I am looking to see and to ensure that the decision that is made today is both right for the United Kingdom, but also specifically for Loughborough.
Just over a year ago during the General Election campaign, myself and my campaign team knocked on several thousands of doors and spoke with very many people of all ages and backgrounds throughout the constituency. While it was not unanimous, by far the greater majority of people wanted to “Get Brexit Done”. And so, true to our word, we left the European Union in January of this year.
Nearly a year on and we now look to cement that position by agreeing a future relationship with our European friends and neighbours.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the negotiators from all sides who have taken up much of their year in the formation of the Agreement on which this Bill is based. It is a good agreement, fair and right for all sides.
I read the Agreement over much of the last few days. While it is a large document, it is set out uniformly with a clear process for each of the sections that deals with what is covered by the Agreement, how the Agreement will be implemented, and how any disputes will be resolved.
For the EU, for the UK and for Loughborough it means certainty: it provides an ambitious plan and it provides a clear future that will benefit us all.
The Bill before us today carries on in the same vein of uniformity and clear process, dealing with the aspects of the Agreement where UK law needs to be changed to meet the terms of the Agreement. The Bill, therefore, is not as wide ranging as the Agreement itself as it only deals with the aspects which cannot be dealt with elsewhere through administrative change in policy, or where legislation is already in place that can be adapted.
In scrutinising the Agreement and the Bill, I have kept in mind the hopes and concerns that Loughborough constituents have raised with me. I have also looked at the activities of Loughborough people, businesses and organisations and tried to put myself in their shoes.
Loughborough constituents for example deal in Europe: with intellectual property; with goods and services; with food, animals and raw materials; with people travelling to and from Europe for work, for research and for leisure travel. They carry out financial agreements and investments with companies and organisations within the EU. Loughborough constituents both trade with the EU and share friendships and relationships with people and organisations within the EU and here I must declare an interest as my own mother lives in an EU country.
Looking at these aspects I find that very many parts of the Agreement meet the needs of Loughborough and also provide a clear pathway to developing future business and relationships with our EU counterparts. We have truly taken back control of our money, borders, law, trade and waters. We are no longer bound by EU law. We have the first free trade, zero tariff, zero quota deal with the EU and we have returned our sovereignty. Full political and economic independence has been achieved.
Other aspects of the needs of Loughborough are met with activities that sit alongside this Agreement and are therefore not part of this Bill. The Turing Programme for example that will replace the Erasmus programme and assist 35,000 young people per year into education and training, aiding social mobility across the UK. Separate agreements have been made for nuclear power and the security of classified information.
I wholeheartedly support this Bill and the Agreement on which it is based. This is an important day for Loughborough and for the United Kingdom. I look forward to 2021 and beyond when the UK can take its part in a global economy and move this great country forward.