Thursday, 30 June 2016

EU Referendum

Our decision to leave the European Union last week was a big decision but the right decision for our country.  I am very proud of the courage shown by so many people in Cornwall.  They overcame the natural apprehension people often feel when facing really big decisions in life and they weighed up all the facts carefully.

Now that the campaign is over it is essential that we reconcile our country and bring people back together.  As we negotiate a new partnership with the EU it is essential we reassure voters and demonstrate to them that, while we have decided to re-establish democratic self-government in the UK, we will still be a generous, cooperative and outward looking nation. 

I think there is scope for widespread cooperation in a new partnership between the UK and the EU.  We can cooperate on the mutual recognition of technical standards to ensure that trade continues to work freely.  We can cooperate on measures to protect the environment.  We can support cooperation between our universities to promote science and technology and we can cooperate in the field of international security and fighting terrorism. 

However, in my view, there is one red line: we would no longer accept the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice which has undermined our democracy and which second guesses the decisions of elected governments.  We would no longer accept EU auditors coming here and overturning decisions we have made and arbitrarily fining the tax payer. We would no longer accept the European Court overturning ministerial decisions to deport dangerous criminals or terrorists and we would no longer abdicate responsibility for our trade policy to the EU.  The future will be based on willing cooperation not reluctant subjugation.

I believe that in a few years’ time, once a new partnership is concluded and we see the benefits of regaining control, the only question people will ask is why we didn't do it sooner.  As it turns out, membership of the EU was just a passing phase in our nation's long history.  Its time has come and gone.

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