Candidate for Windsor
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Bracknell News Column: Monday, 13 March 2017

The European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill has passed through the Lords without amendment and Theresa May now has the power to trigger Article 50. As a result Britain is poised to begin its departure from the European Union.

The House of Lords has an important role in scrutinising and improving draft legislation and thankfully the unelected Chamber didn’t seek to block the will of the elected Commons.

Ghana’s warm reception shows the opportunities for post-Brexit Britain

Having just returned from a flying visit to Ghana with the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, I thought I’d make some encouraging observations about UK-Ghana relations.

My role, as the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Ghana, it to boost our trading relationship with Ghana. It is notable that our Foreign Secretary chose Ghana as one of his destinations on his first visit to the region.

I am pleased to report that the meetings we held with President Nana Akufo-Addo and his Ministers were as warm and cordial as they were productive and workmanlike.

This was my second trip to Ghana in as many months, the first being in January as a representative of Her Majesty’s Government at President Akufo-Addo’s Inauguration.

Like every other Ghanaian election in recent memory, the 2016 Presidential and General Elections were universally recognised as being free and fair, and the transfer of power, despite a close result, was peaceful and successful.

Good democracies make for good trading partners and Britain’s trade with Ghana is booming. Bilateral trade re-crossed the £1bn threshold in 2015 and there is every reason to expect that figure to climb especially with the level of engagement at the highest levels of Government.

There are great opportunities for British investors in Ghana and a huge range of businesses where investors can find a home. We are world leaders across many of the sectors that Ghana seeks market expertise in; from financial, professional and technology services to the creative industries, aerospace, construction and even bridge building. There is huge potential to enhance our trading partnership over the coming years.

The new Ghanaian administration are quite clear: they want to see the private sector create the jobs and prosperity needed to boost the Ghanaian economy. This desire has be encapsulated into a manifesto commitment to see a factory in every district and the UK is well positioned to assist with both investment and expertise.

Post-Brexit Britain is very much open for business and we stand to benefit as much as the Ghanaian people.

To find out more about opportunities for UK businesses overseas visit the Exporting is Great website. 

2017 will be a turning point in our nation’s history

Future historians will look back on 2017 as a turning point in our nation’s history. And I believe that they will say that the UK’s departure from the sclerotic and inward-looking European Union allowed us to begin a new and brighter chapter in our national story.

 

Earlier this year, our Prime Minister gave a magnificent speech spelling out the UK’s future direction as a dynamic, sovereign, free-trading nation. However, this requires taking certain steps now, starting with triggering Article 50 and setting out plans to leave the jurisdiction of the European courts, the Single Market and the Customs Union.

 

This week, MPs were in the chamber debating on whether or not to give the Prime Minister the authority to trigger Article 50. The wording of the bill is brief and uncluttered. It is a binary question. I have always been clear that I will vote to trigger Article 50. The Referendum was approved by Act of Parliament and the Conservatives pledged to ‘respect the result’ of that referendum in the 2015 manifesto on which we were elected into Government.

 

But debate is healthy and I am glad that we have the opportunity to discuss the many facets of agreement and disagreement in the Chamber.

 

I fully expect that a huge majority of MPs will vote to give the Prime Minister the authority to trigger Article 50. Theresa May will then be able to go to the European Council with not only the legitimacy of the referendum result, but also of Parliament. Putting beyond any doubt the authority for the Government to take Britain out of the EU.

 

Our nation’s path over the next two years may include bumps in the road, both political and economic. However, I am certain that we have a Prime Minister, a Government and a set of British values with which to steady the course and make a great success of Brexit.

Parliament has voted for Britain’s revival

This week my vote to give the Prime Minister the authority to trigger Article 50 was one of the most significant I have cast since I was elected as an MP almost 12 years ago.

Brexit, the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, is perhaps the biggest single political issue in a generation. Other than the alarm caused by the prospect of a third runway at Heathrow, there is no issue on which I have received more correspondence.

Bracknell News Column: Tuesday, 24 January 2017

The Prime Minister’s speech on Brexit last week was the best I have heard by a British politician in recent memory. It was visionary about our place in the world yet robust and down to earth – a fine example of strong and well-judged strategic thinking.

As the Prime Minister put it, the referendum was ‘a vote to restore our parliamentary democracy, national self-determination and to become even more global and internationalist in action and spirit.’ For too long the EU has had a ‘vice-like’ grip on our sovereignty, trade and immigration.