MP column: Overall the outlook is positive

Listening to the Queen’s Speech I was pleased to see a substantial programme of legislation planned. We have Brexit to thank for this of course.

The British people, in a free and fair referendum, have given their orders to the Government, and the process of our leaving the EU will require deep attention and proper scrutiny.

First we’ll have the Repeal Bill providing the continuity and legal certainty our businesses need to plan for the future. Brexit creates question marks and the Repeal Bill aims to convert those to full-stops which can be revisited in due course by future Parliaments, by future MPs held accountable by the British voter.

Vitally, we will have an Immigration Bill so that in Great Britain we regain control over our own borders.

It is not at all the case that we want to look the front gate and throw away the key. We want to continue to attract the best and brightest to this country. But we also want to be in control so that we have the ability to act as a refuge for those in distress.

Greater control of our borders will give British people the comfort and security to better uphold our tradition of being a safe haven.

It’s in agriculture and fisheries that we stand the most to gain.

There is no way around this: the Common Fisheries Policy has been an absolute disaster. It has been a disaster on the human level, as we have seen fishing jobs decline and fishing communities in coasts all around Great Britain and Northern Ireland have their livelihoods destroyed. And it’s been an environmental disaster, ruining fish stocks. Instead we will assert control over British waters and give priority to British fisherman to fish them.

In agriculture, of course we’ve been a net contributor to the Common Agricultural Policy, and the Government has wisely committed to match CAP payments up until 2020 by which time we will have a home-grown British Agricultural Policy. Agriculture and the food industry are huge in Lincolnshire and we look forward to seeing an agricultural policy which is fine-tuned to the needs of British farmers and consumers.

The government has made admirable strides in securing training, education, and skills acquisition for those interested in careers in food and agriculture. Here in my constituency we have the wonderful Riseholme College providing excellent opportunities of this kind. Education like this combined with apprenticeships linking the young with employers is necessary for the future of Lincolnshire.

Despite the headlines, overall the outlook is positive.

We are regaining control over our country. We are increasingly giving young people the skills and opportunities they need. We are building a new working relationship with our friends in Europe, as well as our friends further afield in the rest of the world.

In short, we are taking responsibility for our future as a free people under the Crown.

It’s true that we’re in a difficult time of transition, but the future is looking bright.

Sir Edward Leigh

Gainsborough Constituency

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