Last Friday was a truly historic day. After 47 years of membership and 3 years of bitter argument, we have now finally left the European Union. Nationally, 52 percent voted for Brexit and here in Tameside it was even higher. It has been a frustrating time for many people, regardless of how they voted and I’m sure many of you will be relieved that we have now left. Whilst much is still to be decided during the next year of transition period, hopefully much of the anger and division which we’ve all seen recently will come to an end and we can start to bring our communities back together.
As I have written here many times previously, I have always respected the outcome of the referendum back in 2016, but like many in my position I have had concerns about the kind of deal that we leave with. The deal that we currently have would not have been my preferred option – I would have liked to have seen a deal which protected our jobs, our rights at work and our environment. However, the deal that we have is the deal that we have and I believe that our country can find a new place in the world and thrive.
As a result of December’s general election it will, of course, be the Tories who negotiate the next stage of Brexit, including our future relationship with Europe. Boris Johnson has said a lot of different things about Europe over the years (famously, he wrote articles both for and against Brexit during the campaign) and sometimes it can be hard to tell what he wants our relationship to be with Europe post-Brexit. He has talked about his “desire to cooperate with our friends and partners [in the EU] in everything” and I hope that he follows through on this, as Brexit does not mean the end of our partnership with other European countries.
Beyond Europe, I am keen to see how we can further develop our relations with other nations. Trade deals will be very important in doing this, but I think that it’s just as important that our NHS is kept firmly off the table and that we don’t end up with chlorinated chicken, hormone beef or any other dodgy foodstuffs as a result. I’ll be doing everything I can to make sure that post-Brexit deals don’t undermine the things that we value most.
So, however you voted in 2016, let’s all come back together so that Britain can prosper in our new post-Brexit world.