In 2019, the Conservative Party won the general election with an 80-seat majority with the promise to ‘Get Brexit Done’. We delivered.
I supported Brexit from the beginning and over 70% of the constituency voted to leave. Therefore, I am proud to have assisted on delivering this historic decision made by the British people. As a result of Brexit, the UK has more control over borders, laws and finances.
The UK's Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the EU was a historic achievement that delivered on the promises of the EU referendum and the 2019 Conservative Party Manifesto. As part of the Agreement, there are no tariffs or quotas for trade in goods between the UK and the EU. This was the first time that the EU agreed such a deal and it provides the UK with the same benefits in tariffs and quotas that EU member states enjoy.
Thanks to Brexit, the UK once again has the ability to make its own trade deals and the Government has an ambitious trade policy in place which will seize on the opportunities available to us as a sovereign trading nation. Recent achievements of this trade policy include securing far-reaching trade agreements with Australia, New Zealand and Japan. Negotiations are also ongoing for the UK’s accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a free trade area with a joint GDP of £8.4 trillion in 2020, as well as for trade agreements with India, Canada and the States.
The Government is working to increase exports post-Brexit. In November 2022, the Department for International Trade published its new strategy – ‘Made in the UK, Sold to the World’ – to help businesses across the UK double exports and sell their world-class products around the globe. UK exports are due to hit the £1 trillion per year mark by the mid-2030s but this strategy aims to get us there before then.
In the future, I believe that the UK will be able to adapt more easily to the changes and technological innovations of the coming decades. We will be able to set regulations for new sectors to encourage investment and new ideas more quickly than the EU. We will be able to set rules for our benefit. This was made immediately clear in the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine which began in December 2020. The UK procured vaccines months before the EU, approved the vaccine weeks before the bloc and vaccinated millions of people at a faster rate.
The Government's Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill also seizes on the opportunities of Brexit. The Bill will abolish EU Law's special status and will enable the Government, via Parliament to amend more easily, repeal and replace retained EU Law. The Bill will also include a sunset date, the end of 2023, by which all remaining retained EU Law will either be repealed or assimilated into UK Law. This will accelerate reform and create a regulatory regime that better suits the UK’s ambitions and ideals.
Free from the limitations of EU funding, the Government also has plans to level-up the UK with increased regional investment. £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund, which is investing in local infrastructure projects that improve everyday life, alongside £2.6 billion of investment through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. The Prosperity Fund will invest in domestic priorities and target funding where it is needed most: building pride in place, supporting high-quality skills training and increasing life chances.
Finally, the UK Government has taken back control of borders. The Nationality and Borders Act 2022 took advantage of Brexit freedoms - ensuring that our long tradition of offering safe haven to those who are truly persecuted is not undermined by those who abuse our hospitality and break our laws. Measures include a one-stop appeals process; the ability to process asylum claims abroad in Rwanda; the ability to declare inadmissible those who arrive in the UK having passed through perfectly safe EU countries; and life sentences for people smugglers. Nobody needs to flee France in order to be safe.
The Nationality and Borders Act has been held up in the courts. When the Rwanda Plan comes into force, it will act as a strong deterrent to economic migrants who come to the UK illegally.
On 7 March 2023, the Home Secretary unveiled the Government’s new Illegal Immigration Bill. This Bill will underline the legal basis that anyone who enters this country illegally will be swiftly detained and removed. This will deter economic migrants, break the business model of people-smuggling networks and save lives.
Voting for Brexit that has made this work possible. It is a great pleasure to represent the constituents of South Basildon and East Thurrock in Parliament and assist in taking back control of our rule of law and sovereignty.