I have received correspondence from constituents who were concerned that we would not reach a deal by the end of the transition period and I wanted to publish a statement outlining my thoughts on the deal that we have now agreed.
The British people voted to leave the EU in 2016 and I have always been clear that the vote had to be respected. To have ignored it or tried to overturn it would have risked the trust of the electorate in our democratic institutions and our government made it clear that it would not be extending the transition period again.
I know many people believed that an extension to the transition period was desirable, particularly following the problems we had at the Dover crossing in the lead-up to Christmas. However, I had always believed that it could have had significant economic and political consequences for the UK. Our contribution to the EU budget would have continued and we would have remained under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.
At the end of December, I, like many of my constituents, was relieved and pleased that we were able to reach a deal with the EU and avoid such issues.
The Trade and Cooperation Agreement reached by the UK and the EU is an historic achievement. It delivers on the promises of the EU referendum in 2016 and the Conservative Party manifesto which the British people supported in the General Election 2019. It ensures that there are no tariffs or quotas in trade between the UK and the EU and makes provisions for services, mobility, social security and security.
The Agreement delivers on the Government’s commitment to maintain high standards for workers’ rights, the environment and climate change without EU oversight. The UK is also out of the EU’s state aid regime and can supports its own industries as it sees fit. Working together, there are also provisions ensuring that those going to the EU benefit from reciprocal healthcare akin to the EHIC scheme as well as uprated state pensions and security cooperation with the EU on DNA, fingerprints, vehicle registration data, Passenger Name Records and with Europol and Eurojust will help to keep people on both sides of the Channel safe.
After a five year transition period, the UK will have full control of its fishing waters with the fish available to UK fishermen rising from 50 per cent to 66 per cent. Total Allowable Catch and access to waters in the future will be negotiated on an annual basis.
Outside of the EU, the UK has more control over a number of areas including our borders, laws and money. Lawmakers are also directly accountable to voters in the country and this strengthens democracy.
In the future, the UK will be able to adapt 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. We also have the ability to make our own trade deals, which I believe means we are well placed to take advantage of new markets overseas.
A deal does still mean, however, that there are changes at the Great Britain-EU border. It is important that businesses adjust to these. The UK left the single market and the customs union on 1 January and I would encourage you to visit the following address for details on those changes: www.gov.uk/transition.
This website is the best places for advice and guidance on the next steps that you and your business will be required to take. If you have further questions on customs, tax or excise you contact HMRC directly via an online customer forum at this address: https://community.hmrc.gov.uk/.
I am confident that the deal we have agreed will provide much needed security and stability for the food production, vehicle manufacturing, and transport & tourism industries which are all important sectors employing thousands of people in my constituency.
Thanks again to all of those who raised their concerns with me and I hope that this statement goes some way to answering your concerns and queries.