Mark Spencer : Committed to the Brexit process
I have had a lot on this month — including a meeting with Her Majesty The Queen — but this time my column is about Brexit.
At the end of February we saw an enormous shift in Labour Party policy on Brexit, specifically the customs union.
After months of ambiguity, Jeremy Corbyn finally announced what we were all expecting — that he has caved to the London-centric, left-wing advisers in his shadow cabinet who never really accepted the British people’s decision to leave the European Union, and are now doing everything they can to keep us in through the back door.
It is important to understand what the implications of this announcement are.
Jeremy Corbyn wants to keep us in a customs union with the EU, which would mean Brussels setting the terms of our trade policy, and the European Court of Justice telling our Government what we can and cannot do when it comes to selling goods.
It would mean we could not do trade deals with other countries.
This would be utterly self-defeating, and means we would be getting the worst of both worlds.
It is clear that what is needed is to leave the single market and customs union, throw open our doors to the world, and trade freely with the world’s emerging economies, while negotiating a separate, mutually beneficial deal with our EU neighbours.
That seems to me a lot better than to trade only with the EU, on their terms.
The International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox, is working with 21 countries around the world to get trade agreements in place, which could be signed as soon as we are out of the EU.
Meanwhile, the PM is busy talking to our EU neighbours to make sure we can establish a deal that does not damage either side of the Channel.
'We should be trying to make the best of it'
Labour wants to tear all of that up because of a cynical calculation that they may have a chance to defeat the Government in a vote on the customs union.
I am clear that it is not in the interests of the people I represent in Sherwood to cut off our nose to spite our face.
We are leaving and we should be trying to make the best of it.
In his speech on February 27, the Labour leader laid bare the extent of his u-turn.
For 30 years he trooped through the lobbies with all Eurosceptics, voting against any closer union with what he believed to be an anti-democratic organisation that always put economic success over human development.
Are we supposed to believe that his view has suddenly changed?
I say that he is making a cynical attempt to keep us as good as inside the EU not for the benefit of the country, but because he believes a defeat for the Government increases his chance of becoming Prime Minister.
I believe Labour are putting political opportunity before country, and are wrong to do so.
Brexit presents this country with the priceless opportunity to become a great trading nation, to take back our seat at the World Trade Organisation, and set the terms of our own prosperity.
We must not allow ourselves to believe that Jeremy Corbyn and his vision for a half-exit would be anything other than devastating for our future economic prospects.
The British people voted to take control of our courts, our money and our borders, and I will do my best to respect and deliver on that result.