Thank you for taking the time to write to me about Brexit.
The decision to leave the EU back in June was clear – Britain will be leaving the European Union. The Prime Minister has made it clear by invoking Article 50 by March 2017, that there will be no attempt to stay in the EU through any back routes or through a second referendum. The question was put, the country voted and there was a clear response. That result has to be respected by Parliament.
In those cases where a second referendum was held, in Denmark and Ireland, it was following new concessions made by the EU in response to the vote – no such new negotiations have been opened in the wake of Brexit. The public could only be presented anew with the same in/out question if circumstances had radically changed since last it was posed. At this very early stage, markets reacting and absorbing the result is not that.
But going forward, it behoves the new government Department for Exiting the European Union to recognise too that the benefits of our membership of the EU was important to a significant 48% and therefore must negotiate the best and closest terms. Mr David Davis has explained, ‘Before Article 50 is triggered will be a rather frustrating time because we won’t be saying a lot. We’ll be saying a bit, laying out guidelines, but as the Prime Minister has said we won’t give a running commentary on it because that would just undermine our negotiating stance from the beginning. Afterwards I’d expect it to be more open.’ However, the House of Commons ’Brexit Select Committee’ will be set up to scrutinise the work of negotiators and keep the department accountable, whilst also appearing before the House of Lords EU Committee to answer questions.
Although times may feel uncertain and the negotiations to follow in the next two years are going to be intense and complex, I am confident the new department will approach negotiations with a sense of mutual respect and cooperation. I believe we can maintain good relationships with our European neighbours and be prosperous outside of the institutions of the EU. We will continue to trade and work together and our people will continue to visit and study. It has been made clear, we are leaving the EU, but we are not turning out backs on Europe.
Thank you again for taking the time to write to me; as always, if I can ever be of assistance, please do not hesitate to get in touch.