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Brexit means Brexit!

By Grantham Reporter

Column by Coun Martin Hill, leader of Lincolnshire County Council

Now the new year and festive celebrations are over it’s back to the normal routine of everyday life.

In particular, this means the resumption of the Parliamentary discussions and debate over how to implement our exit from the EU as voted for by the majority of those who took part in the referendum.

It won’t surprise you to know that most people I speak to as I travel around the county are frankly bored by the proceedings in the House of Commons – the usual comment being: “I wish they would just get on with it.”

Both remainers and leavers are fed up in equal measure. I have to say I sympathise, particularly as we in Lincolnshire voted by a large majority to leave, despite dire warnings of doom and gloom which were threatened at the time.

We had a vote and it’s up to Parliament to implement the decision which was taken.

As leader of a council and a long-standing local politician, I believe that when in negotiation you are in a stronger position if you keep your cards close to your chest, especially when starting out.

To my mind, this is where our government has failed, by not being strong enough in aiming for the best possible deal.

It seems that we have always been on the back-foot during the negotiations. We’ve almost begged the EU to allow us to leave while at the same time being allowed to retain the benefits of being in the club. Not unreasonably the EU said this is not possible.

Instead we should have been more forceful, insisting that we were leaving the EU and then negotiating the best possible trading and cultural relationship for the future.

MPs ruling out any options, including a so-called ‘no deal Brexit’, will only have the result of further weakening our negotiating position with Europe.

Whatever happens, it is important that those of us who are elected keep our promises and genuinely try and reflect the decision of the public. Failure to do so will only undermine respect for democracy and increase the risk of more apathy towards politics or even worse, embolden those at the extremes.

It is really quite simple - we voted to leave. The only issue for MPs should be to deliver an exit from the EU which genuinely respects the spirit of that decision.


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