Working together should not be seen as controversial

Prime Minister Theresa May
Prime Minister Theresa May
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The Prime Minister marked her first year in office this week, giving a speech at the Royal Society of Arts on the Taylor Review of modern working practices. During her speech, she issued a challenge to other parties in Parliament, calling on them to “come forward with [their] own views and ideas about how we can tackle these challenges as a country”.

There ought to be nothing controversial in that sentiment, yet some struggle to grasp it. The duty of Opposition is to hold the Government to account, and to set out its own vision for the country, but also to scrutinise and so contribute to legislative change. Slipping into the habits of shrill criticism and adolescent protest – of opposition for its own sake – may offer cheap thrills, but politics at its best can be a satisfying, collaborative endeavour.

For all of my political life, I have known that no single political party has a monopoly of wisdom, and so been prepared to work together to serve the national interest and the common good.

It is a testament to the 
maturity and nuance of our political system that cross-party trust and co-operation can be nurtured and sustained. This marks out British political culture and should be celebrated.

For my own part, both as a Shadow Minister and, since 2010, as a Government Minister, I have built professional relationships with Members across Parliament to get things done. So it was with my work at the Home Office, when the shared commitment to pass necessary counter-terrorism legislation far outweighed any party political prejudice.

Compromise does not imply weakness. On the contrary, those with the boldest convictions about what must be done are likewise often strong enough to acknowledge their own imperfections.

In these challenging times, boldness must trump caution and conviction outscore doubt, for there is a great deal to do.

The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill was published on Thursday, which begins the end of the supremacy of European law in this country and starts the process of filleting and repealing the many unsuitable diktats under which we have laboured for years. There is, however, no reason to be daunted by the task which lies before us. It is, undoubtedly arduous, but Britain has risen to great challenges before. Freedom was hard fought for in the past and, as the Romans understood, fortune favours the bold.

We as a nation must now be bold, both in our negotiations with our continental neighbours and in building our future outside the EU. We must be diligent; we must be passionate; and we must succeed.