• Brexit

    21 March 2017

    Dear Constituent

    Thank you for contacting me about Brexit.

    The Brexit Bill was debated in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords and has now received Royal Assent. I have received a substantial amount of correspondence on this issue from my constituents and I greatly appreciate receiving the views of local people. Of the many issues that were raised with me, there were three common areas of concern: possible amendments to the Brexit Bill; the rights of EU nationals living in the UK and accessing the Single Market once the UK has left the EU; and I would like to address these in turn.

    The Brexit Bill is the legislation that allows the Government to trigger Article 50, and to begin the process of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. This being the case, I was not in favour of adding individual clauses in the form of amendments to this bill. It would have resulted in the Government’s hands being tied when it comes to the negotiations, as well as judicial proceedings that this might incur. The government has already said that Parliament will have a vote on the final deal and accept the Government’s assurances that there will be a meaningful debate and vote at the end of the process.

    With regard to the position of EU nationals living in the UK, I fully appreciate the enormous contribution they make to this country. However there is a duty of the Government to secure the rights of UK nationals living in the EU. Some member states have been unable to give any assurances to the UK Government, regarding the status of UK nationals, until Article 50 has been triggered.  The Government has made it clear that securing the rights of EU nationals will be its first priority. The uncertainty that this creates, I am well aware, puts individuals, families and businesses in a difficult position meaning that it is of even greater importance to act quickly on this issue, which the Government is committed to doing.

    Finally, access to the single market affects our trade with the EU, our right to trade with other countries and has an impact on free movement.  We will formally leave the single market when we leave the EU, by remaining a member of the single market, the UK would effectively not be leaving the EU.  The Government’s task, therefore, is to seek the broadest possible access to the single market in a comprehensive and bold free trade agreement consulting with industries and sectors across the country, which may incorporate elements of single market arrangements in some areas.

    Brexit is of course complex, with many different components, and there are key issues that need to be dealt with going forward.  Whilst I was on the other side of the argument, the UK, as a whole, voted to Leave the EU. Whilst disappointed with the outcome, I respect the result of the referendum and feel I am best placed to work constructively with the Government, to assist my constituents and work for the overall benefit to the country. Brexit will be at the forefront of political discussions for the foreseeable future, and whilst there is uncertainty in the short term, I believe that the UK has a positive outlook as we reform our relationship with the EU and the World.

    Thank you again for getting in touch.

    Yours sincerely

    Mel Stride

    MP for Central Devon

    Comptroller of the Household and Government Pairing Whip