A little while ago I remember reading in the Yorkshire Post that we Yorkshire folk are the most opinionated in the country – a trait of which we Yorkshire men and women are no doubt very proud. The survey identified that 93% of us are prepared to offer our opinions.
So last week I decided to put this to the test and ask my constituents in Morley and Outwood a few questions about Brexit, how they thought the negotiations were going and what were their red lines.
My constituents in Morley and Outwood often write to me or stop me in the street to air their concerns about Brexit, but recently more and more of them are stopping me to discuss the progress of our EU negotiations. Morley and Outwood voted to leave the EU, with 59.8% of people in my constituency and 57.7% across Yorkshire and The Humber voting to take back control of their money, laws and borders. So it’s not surprise that there are a lot of strong feelings and sentiment about this important issue locally.
I wanted to understand the following:
- Why people voted for Brexit
- If they would still vote to Leave
- What they thought of the progress so far
- What were their red line areas
Unsurprisingly my constituents, very sensibly, voted for Brexit due to concerns around sovereignty, free movement and trade opportunities. Everyone present stated they would still vote to Leave today. All were frustrated and expected the progress to be faster. Half thought the Prime Minister had a difficult job, but ultimately just want the Government to get on with the job.
They were all in agreement that their red lines were an end to free movement, securing the ability to sign new trade deals with other countries, an end to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice over our laws and, finally, the need to stop paying money into the EU and invest the cash in our own people.
With all the talk of a ‘soft Brexit’ – staying in the Single Market, the Customs Union and the possibility of keeping our borders open after we leave – my constituents are right to raise the above issues and these are concerns that I share too.
Brexit must mean something and people must see that there has been a dramatic change when we leave. Leaving the EU is far more than the UK simply not shipping MEPs needlessly back and forth between Brussels and Strasbourg or no longer signing up to inefficient policies like the Common Agricultural Policy.
It is very important to me that we comply not just with the letter, but the spirit of the commitments that were made at the referendum and that is why we need to be completely free of the EU and be a fully sovereign nation once again. Any negotiation which ends in us being half-in, half-out should not be acceptable to anyone who took part in the referendum.
Brexit is understandably an incredibly complex and difficult procedure and was never going to be an easy process. However, it is now over two years since the country voted to Leave the European Union and that decision must be enacted.
Brexit is ultimately about sovereignty and the UK having the ability to do what it pleases without interference from the likes of Jean-Claude Juncker and his friends on the continent. Partial membership of the European Union cannot be an option; we voted to Leave so let’s do just that.
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