2017 is set to a big year for Britain, with the process of exiting the European Union expected to get underway by the end of March.
The Prime Minister has made clear that she intends to trigger Art 50 to start the two year negotiating process within weeks.
The time has come for politicians on all sides to accept the will of the British people whatever their personal views and work together in the national interest. Locally, there continues to be a majority in favour of Brexit; this has been borne out in a survey I have carried out in Telford, and by a survey conducted by the Shropshire Star.
It is important that we analyse and scrutinise how government is progressing with Brexit. But to delay our exit would go against the democratic will of the people, and would create increased uncertainty for people, businesses and the markets.
We have seen stock markets on a record high suggesting a surge of business confidence; GDP and employment data supports these encouraging signs. Certainly there is no evidence of the ‘self inflicted recession’ we were told would follow a “Leave” vote.
Manufacturing, construction and services have all delivered good news recently. Whilst the fall in the pounds value against foreign currencies has made imports more expensive, it has benefitted exporters by making their goods cheaper for overseas purchasers.
Manufacturing is at a 30 month high, services grew at their fastest pace for 17 months in December and the construction industry enjoyed the fastest growth in new orders in almost a year, also in December.
On top of this, the International Trade Secretary has announced that since the Leave vote, there has been £16 billion of overseas investment into the UK.
Of course, leaving the EU will be no easy task. The Civil Service has to get up to full speed and negotiating with 27 separate countries with different priorities will require skilled diplomacy. We all seek the best outcome for Britain and as elected representatives we all seek the best outcome for the people we represent. There now needs to be an acceptance by all politicians that Brexit is going to happen. We need to fight together for the issues we consider important to ensure that a positive and productive outcome is secured.
A successful Brexit needs certainty as soon as possible; it would be wrong for UK politicians to seek to slow the process.