It has been a hectic week for Brexit. The Government made an enormous breakthrough in our negotiations with the EU, both reaffirming our realistic red lines for withdrawal and the joint resolve by the UK and EU Governments to find a solution.
I am positive as ever that a positive negotiated settlement will be reached that will enable the UK to leave the EU (including the Single Market and Customs Union) in an orderly fashion, enabling us to both trade with the EU and strike trade agreements with countries across the world.
The UK was built on international trade and commerce and, as we leave the EU, we will re-embrace once again our historic tradition of trading with every corner of the globe. And I am constantly reminded that a key part of the future of Britain’s trade is with Africa.
Too often we view Africa mainly through the prism of foreign aid instead of as a continent with the potential to be equal partners in trade.
Adam Afriyie, the MP for Windsor, has welcomed the Prime Minister’s latest speech in Florence regarding the UK’s exit from the European Union.
In Florence today Theresa May reiterated the UK’s shared values with the rest of the Europe and continuing commitment to security, stability and prosperity. Her speech also proposed more details on the rights of EU citizen’s rights, a 2 year transition period and an ambitious co-operative partnership in economic and security matters.
One of the curious issues I noticed from the Remain campaign during the EU referendum was that their message about Britain’s potential future in the EU was starkly different from the one coming from Brussels itself.
The Remain campaign vociferously attacked any suggestion that the EU wanted to expand into the Balkans, create an EU Army, shift yet more power away from national governments or threaten the removal of our opt-outs.
Yet this was precisely the content of Jean-Claude Juncker’s state of the union speech yesterday that was greeted to rapturous applause. His points included:
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.