In addition to discussions in recent days with Citizens Advice in Crawley, Friends of the Earth, and locally-based pensions provider B&CE, the issue of Brexit remains prominent.
The rhetoric of division about ‘Leavers’ and ‘Remainers’ belongs in 2016; the message I hear constantly from local residents is that regardless of how people voted, Brexit now needs to be delivered. The view from Crawley is what I continue to pursue with the Prime Minister.
Last week I voted against a motion in the House of Commons to make provision for an extension to the Treaty of Lisbon Article 50 withdrawal process. This would cause further uncertainty; Brexit must be resolved finally without further delay so we can move forward as a country with a new relationship with our European neighbours and allies.
A further cause of uncertainty is the idea of rerunning the referendum. The people of Crawley and our whole country have already made the decision to leave, where the Government at the time made clear – at the cost to the taxpayer of over £9 million to write to every household in the country – that the result would be carried out.
If there was a second referendum what legitimacy would there be to respect that vote; why not yet still further polls?
Brexit should be seen as an opportunity, not a problem that needs to be mitigated.
Leaving the European Union is a moment to extend our global horizons and grow our economy using our unique international links, as well as our geographic proximity to Europe, in an increasingly connected world.
I continue to hold the Government to account over Brexit and I urge the Prime Minister to take a robust stance in negotiations with the EU before the next meaningful vote in the House of Commons which is due to take place later this month.
There are rightly other issues of priority. The NHS will get a cash boost of an extra £394 million every week and the tax-free Personal Allowance will increase one year early to £12,500 from next month. However, Brexit needs to be carried out in full to allow our country to look ahead to the future.
Henry Smith MP