The term ‘Brexit’ refers to the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.
My role remains as working in the interests of the South West and Gibraltar, as well as voting on EU legislation. I will also vote as an MEP on whether to ratify the final Brexit deal in late 2018.
I have been unequivocal that for reasons pragmatic, principled and patriotic I firmly believe Britain’s place should be remaining with our closest friends and neighbours inside the European Union.
However, should we be unable to remain in the EU, it is incumbent on us to ensure we get the best deal for our economy and our society. Any deal that sees us exiting the Single Market and Customs Union will make the task of maintaining, let alone increasing, our manufacturing base, being involved in the world’s largest research area, funding our public services and simply staffing our economy and NHS almost impossible.
The British government is attempting to pass legislation in order to replace laws previously shared with the EU, and to end the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. The UK will have to create new regulations concerning agriculture, energy, technology, trade, the economy and much more.
This will require years of drawing up new legislation and negotiating future relationships with the EU and the rest of the world. Trading relationships are likely to take the form of free trade agreements (FTAs); the UK already has 52 of these with the EU and other countries, but will need to renegotiate them post-Brexit with the new economic situation in mind. FTAs can take many years to negotiate and are often less effective with service sector trade, and often have a detrimental impact on the farming industry.
It is possible that the UK will maintain links with some EU ‘technical institutions’ if we decide to continue working with them. For example, the Euratom treaty supports research into nuclear energy and efficiency, and cooperation with EU member states is not necessarily tied to EU membership. However, the government will have to decide which of these treaties and institutions to keep links with, if any, over the next two years.
Despite reaching agreement on ‘phase one’ of the negotiations, the UK government is mired in disagreement. The negotiations with the EU on the Withdrawal Agreement are expected to be over by autumn 2018; after this, both the European Parliament will vote on whether to ratify the final deal. The UK is expected to formally withdraw from the EU in March 2019 in either scenario.