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Brexit deal to build Britain’s future

The latest column by North West Norfolk MP James Wild, Thursday, December 31, 2020

The deal is done. It was welcome news on Christmas Eve that a UK-EU Trade and Co-operation Agreement had been secured.

My first vote a year ago was for the EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill which delivered on our manifesto pledge to leave the EU on 31 January. This week I supported the Future Relationship Bill to implement this Agreement.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Picture: Paul Grover/Daily Telegraph/PA
Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Picture: Paul Grover/Daily Telegraph/PA

This deal is a significant achievement that provides certainty for people and businesses. That such a deal was negotiated – when many doubted it was possible and Covid made it even tougher – is testament to the UK and EU teams.

It delivers on the referendum and general election pledges to take back control of our laws, borders, money, trade, and fisheries. Based on international law, there is no role for the European Court of Justice.

It ensures zero tariffs and zero quotas with our largest trading partner – the first time the EU has made such as agreement. This is great news for families, farmers, manufacturing, engineering, and other businesses in North West Norfolk.

Some things will change. There will be new processes for importing or exporting goods although the deal agrees to simplify requirements. Outside the Customs Union, we can strike new free trade agreements. Negotiations are underway with the US, New Zealand, and Australia and we are seeking membership of Trans Pacific Partnership, one of the largest free trading areas.

On agri-food, unfortunately the EU rejected an equivalence agreement but the deal allows us to co-operate on avoiding barriers from border controls and certification requirements.

Importantly, the deal delivers on our commitment to maintaining high labour, environment and climate standards without the EU having a say over our rules.

The UK can regulate and do things in a more innovative and effective way.

And we will become an independent coastal state again. The UK’s share of fish in our waters will rise from roughly half today to closer to 2/3 after five and a half years.

During that time there will be a £100 million programme to modernise fleets and the fish processing industry to be ready for when our share can increase further.

Criminals do not respect borders so I welcome that we will continue to work closely together to tackle serious crime. The deal ensures access to DNA, fingerprint, and vehicle registration data as well as exchanges of criminal records. There are arrangements for continued transfer of passenger name records and new extradition rules.

People will continue to be able to travel to the EU for work or holidays. Hauliers – as well as coach and bus companies - will be able to operate to, through and within the EU. Airlines will continue to fly between the UK and EU.

After so much focus on Brexit, this deal marks a new chapter.

One where we can take advantage of freedoms outside the EU to boost efforts to level up opportunity, to reform our approach to farming, to encourage innovative sectors to develop, to strike trade deals, and to continue playing a leading role on the world stage.

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