We are finally achieving the 'Brexit means Brexit' consensus in the Conservative Party, and it is clear that we need to get on with the job of grasping the opportunities open to us in the wider world.
The level of maturity shown across our party has been incredible. Every single Conservative I know who campaigned for Remain has accepted the result and are getting behind Theresa May’s mission to lead us out of the European Union. As one of the Vote Leave Constituency Campaign Coordinators, I am delighted to see this happen, but I also acknowledge that the country is heavily divided and everyone’s views must be considered during this complex process.
Theresa May held a Brexit and social justice themed Cabinet meeting at Chequers last week, and is now representing us at her first G20 Summit. Her performance so far gives me confidence that she will be a bold and radical Prime Minister who does create a country that works for everyone, not just the privileged few.
As she said during the Cabinet gathering at Chequers:
“We must continue to be very clear that 'Brexit means Brexit', that we’re going to make a success of it. That means there’s no second referendum; no attempts to sort of stay in the EU by the back door; that we’re actually going to deliver on this. We have the opportunity to forge a new positive role for the UK in the world; to make sure that we are that government and country that works for everyone – that everyone can share in the country’s prosperity.”
Brexit will dominate British politics for many years to come as we build a new relationship with the European Union and wider world. The main debate over the last few weeks has been whether we should prioritise ending freedom of movement, maintain membership of the single market, or a strike a balance between the two.
Hardcore Brexiteers like me have been pushing for us to end the current situation whereby EU migrants can freely enter Britain because they have an EU passport. We have argued that one of the main motivations for people, particularly those in northern England, voting to leave the EU was because of a strong desire to take back control of our borders, as our current situation is unsustainable to public services.
Others who have accepted the result as the process was based on democratic principles, but are keen for us to maintain our membership of the single market. Some would effectively call this “Brexit-light” as it would not end freedom of movement and we would be still need to abide by many EU rules. They argue that this is essential for jobs and British businesses who rely on the single market.
The number one priority of Theresa May, Boris Johnson, David Davis and Dr Liam Fox must be to ensure that the end Brexit deal benefits every part of the country and caters for the needs of all four nations within our United Kingdom. The Prime Minister clearly showed that she is serious about this by visiting Scotland within a few days of becoming our new Prime Minister. Brexit Secretary David Davis and Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire also visited Northern Ireland last week for important discussions about maintaining the invisible border with the Republic of Ireland. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox have both been to European countries and the United States over the summer to maintain close relationships and kick start free trade talks.
On a political note, our Conservative Party must become the voice of the working class people of the north who mostly voted Leave. The Labour Party are in disarray and appear to have taken these traditional Labour heartlands for granted and ignored concerns about immigration and national sovereignty. UKIP are struggling to regroup after Nigel Farage stepping down as their leader. It is our fundamental duty to represent these people, otherwise they will feel even more disillusioned with politics and divisions across our communities will continue to widen.
I am confidence that Theresa May will trigger Article 50 in January or February next year, and that the two year process of Brexit negotiations, leaving the EU and forming new free trade deals around the world will begin. I hope that Leave voters’ wishes are listened to, and that post-Brexit Britain works for everyone.
Joe Porter is a Parish Councillor in Staffordshire Moorlands and Deputy Chairman (Political) for West Midlands Conservative. He is the Political Editor of Think North and was the Vote Leave Constituency Campaign Coordinator for Staffordshire Moorlands. Joe studies Marketing and Politics at Keele University, where he has a particular passion for local British politics and is a Trustee of Keele Student Union. He is currently the co-leader of a brand new campaign called ‘Undivided’ which aims to get the best Brexit deal for young people.