Guest column: Brexit means Brexit and we are leaving the EU

Sir Edward Leigh
Sir Edward Leigh

I cannot emphasise enough that there is no going back on Brexit.

We will be leaving the European Union completely and there is no question about that.

I have been one of the heartiest advocates of properly getting out of the EU and holding the Government to account while this process is ongoing.

A number of constituents have written to me under the misapprehension that transitional agreements somehow mean we won’t be leaving the European Union or that somehow they will be used to sneakily create a situation whereby we leave in name only.

I can reassure voters that this is not the case.

Our entry into the European Economic Community (or ‘common market’ as it was sold to us) involved a transition.

So there’s no surprise that our exit will be accompanied by one as well.

The proposed transitional arrangements are strictly limited by time and not able to be renewed or extended at all, even if there is a change of Government.

This means we will continue – temporarily – to have access to one another’s markets on current terms as well as to take part in existing security measures.

Taking back control of Britain’s borders was one of the most important reasons for voting to withdraw from the European Union.

We have effectively had little or no control over who has been let into the country while we were EU members.

Understandably, then, it will take a little time, effort, and understanding in order to create an entirely new system of immigration and border control for the UK.

We will continue economic co-operation with our friends in Europe.

We have always made it very clear that we are in favour of this.

But we will be masters in our own home and will determine our own rules while we do so.

Theresa May made very clear in her speech in Florence last week that we will uphold the best possible standards for British consumers.

But that once we have left the EU we will also have the freedom to adapt these rules and regulations according to British needs.

Negotiations are continuing and are making steady progress.

No deal is better than a bad deal, but a good deal is better than either.

The Government have been cautiously and reasonably generous with our European friends, for example offering reassurance to EU citizens living in the UK, paying tax, and making their lives here that they will be able to carry on their lives as before.

But it is vital we likewise secure the interests of British citizens living abroad, who are numerous.

I look forward to a fruitful friendship between the United Kingdom and the European Union as well as with many other countries across the globe.

But I must emphasise to constituents that there is zero chance of our staying in the European Union.

Transitional agreements will exist to help us to leave the EU – not to frustrate our leaving.

No-one has been clearer on this matter than the Prime Minister – leave means leave.