The past week has witnessed incredible scenes in Parliament – not least the first tied vote seen for 25 years. The 2016 EU referendum deeply divided the nation. It is therefore unsurprising that there has been such strength of feeling on both sides of the debate.
Yet here in Dover and Deal there was a stronger consensus. Some two-thirds of voters backed leaving the EU. My mandate was clear. To leave the EU and take back control of our laws, trade, money and borders.
We are of course very much on the front line of this decision. So as your MP, I have worked tirelessly to make sure that our area is as ready as it can be, deal or no deal. I set out a blueprint for this Ready on Day One approach. My series of papers detailed how customs and border security systems could be overhauled and brought into a single Government department to ensure order at the border.
We formed a Brexit Task Force at Dover District Council. I have met time and again with Transport Ministers, Treasury Ministers and Ministers from the Brexit Department to press the case for early preparation and readiness. I have asked the Prime Minister in Parliament for greater investment in our borders and to make sure we are ready on day one, prepared for every eventuality. Millions of pounds have been secured for preparations – from additional resources for Kent Police and councils to investment in the Channel Ports and transport infrastructure.
Yet Brexit has now become all consuming. We need to move on and focus on the many other things that matter to us all – especially jobs, schools, hospitals, home ownership and policing. I am against a second referendum. It would simply mean endless Brexit. We need to break out of this Brexit Groundhog Day, not have another year leading up to yet another Brexit referendum. The referendum was held. The decision was made. It's been nearly three years. It's now time to move on.
So where do we go from here? In Parliament I have voted for a no deal departure and against staying in the Customs Union and Single Market that would give us no control over EU immigration and force us to accept EU laws, including EU trade policy. I have also voted against a second referendum and opposed an Article 50 extension. I believe we have talked about Brexit for long enough. We now need to leave the EU – deal or no deal – and move on.
In the meantime, I continue to focus on delivering for our community. We have been able to achieve an incredible amount here in Dover and Deal – record jobs, more cash for healthcare, over £500m of investment and so much more.
For me it's time to believe in Britain – the global trading power we can be and the economic powerhouse we can build. Let's leave the EU now and move on. Our best years are yet to come.
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