26 JAN 2017

Star Column - 24th January 2017

"Last week the Prime Minister set out the Government's negotiating objectives for Brexit. She was unequivocal that we are not seeking partial membership, associate membership, or anything that leaves us half-in or half-out. Leaving will mean just that, control over our immigration system, an end to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice and ceasing our membership of the Single Market. Last year's referendum was close but decisive and it is right that we now make progress with leaving. But while it was a vote to leave the EU, it was not a vote to leave Europe – we will continue to be reliable allies, willing partners and close friends with our European neighbours. At time of writing, the court judgement is not yet out so our next procedural steps are to be determined but I am confident that the Prime Minister will trigger Article 50 by the end of March and a two year negotiation. I welcome the clarity that Theresa May has given the British public as well as our friends in Europe, which immediately caused the pound to rise. I'm confident we can forge a brighter future for Britain.

I was shocked and saddened to hear about the death of a crewman who was killed in a boiler room accident on board the Manhattan Bridge container ship at the Port of Felixstowe on Thursday night. My sympathy goes to his family and friends. Thankfully incidents like this are very rare. The Marine Accident and Investigation Branch will be investigating and hopefully lessons can be learnt to ensure the risk of this sort of accident is minimised in the future.

Just a few hours later, on Friday morning, I visited the Harwich Haven Authority as part of a scheduled visit. Harwich Haven serves us all by making sure that one of Britain's most important transport and shipping freight arteries runs smoothly and invests millions of pounds each year in dredging work to keep the shipping lanes open. I met the Chief Executive, Neil Glendinning to talk about a wide range of issues including the potential impact of leaving the EU. It was nice to see the Port Of Felixstowe berths fully loaded from my vantage point at Harwich Quay.

In Suffolk we all know the importance of our port for global trade links and the success of UK PLC. Yesterday the Prime Minister launched her modern industrial strategy to build on Britain's strengths to secure our future as a competitive, global nation. The strategy looks at how it can use trade and investment deals to increase exports. Good news for our part of Suffolk.

Finally, it was a pleasure to welcome the School Council from Waldringfield Primary School to Westminster last week, as they visited Parliament's brand new education centre. We talked about their manifestos and compared notes on the huge responsibility of being elected. Whilst they were there they learnt how Parliament works, including the process of passing legislation through both the House of Commons and House of Lords. I always encourage schools from Suffolk Coastal to make the trip to Westminster and hope to welcome more Suffolk pupils to Parliament in the coming months."

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