HAYES IN THE HOUSE: By local MP John Hayes
As an island nation, Britain has always looked outwards for prosperity.
Our enduring economic might was founded on exploration which opened pathways of international trade stretching from the new world to the Far East.
A peculiar misconception about Britain voting to leave the European Union was that our country would turn inwards, seeking less involvement in the outside world. In fact, the opposite is true – freed from the EU, Britain can become again a truly global nation.
Last week, Theresa May confirmed what ordinary Britons knew, that the UK will leave the EU.
We are not seeking associate membership or any status that leaves us half-in, half-out – we will leave the single market, not least because Brexit must mean controlling the number of foreigners who come here.
Leaving the EU doesn’t mean turning our back on the continent. Trade and co-operation over a range of matters will continue with our neighbours where it is as much in our interest as it is in theirs.
People will still come to visit, study and work here, but in strictly controlled numbers. That’s what people want, and it’s what the Government is determined to deliver.
The single market is the slowest-growing economic bloc in the world. As a member, we are effectively trapped within its closed shop, bound by tariffs and burdens on our non-EU trade. The effect has been to discourage exploration of worldwide opportunities.
By leaving, Britain will be free to agree its own trade deals, with nations like America and Australia indicating that they are keen to get the ball rolling.
The EU, by contrast, continues to fail to strike trade agreements because the competing interests of its 28 nations are so hard to reconcile.
We have what it takes to succeed; a government giving people and businesses the certainty they deserve, and a country ready to face the future with confidence.