I am delighted that we have now left the European Union, delivering on the Prime Minister’s electoral promise to ‘get Brexit done’, and opening a new chapter in our relationship with our European neighbours and partners around the world.
Britain’s exit came after four years of hard negotiations and discussions and confirmed a decision that the people of Fylde initially voted for in the 2016 referendum, and have since reaffirmed by twice trusting the Conservative party to deliver this result in the subsequent General Elections.
The Prime Minister and his Government worked tirelessly to since his election as party leader. Firstly, to pass into law an initial deal that officially ended our membership of the European Union, moving us into what was known as the Transition Period, and a subsequent, more permanent arrangement, announced on Christmas Eve.
This Trade and Cooperation Agreement reached by the UK and the EU is an historic achievement. It delivers on the promises of the EU referendum in 2016 and the Conservative Party manifesto which the British people supported in the General Election 2019. It ensures that there are no tariffs or quotas in trade between the UK and the EU and makes provisions for services, mobility, social security and security.
Many people believed that an extension to the transition period was desirable but I had always believed that it could have had significant economic and political consequences for the UK. Our contribution to the EU budget would have continued and we would have remained under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.
A deal does still mean, however, that there are changes at the Great Britain-EU border. It is important that businesses adjust to these. The UK left the single market and the customs union on 1 January and I would encourage you to visit the following address for details on those changes: www.gov.uk/transition. Full UK border controls will not take effect until January 2022.
This must now be used as an opportunity for a welcoming and internationalist outlook, sometimes referred to as Global Britain, something I will continue to advocate for as Member of Parliament for Fylde, as well as actively working towards in my role as Prime Minister's Trade Envoy to Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Peru. With this greater autonomy, we are able to utilise this flexibility to ensure that we can encourage investment and development that best reflects the needs out this country.
We have a unique opportunity to forge our own path in the world as a nation dedicated to the idea of free trade and global economic development. It is predicted that 90 per cent of future world growth will come from outside of Europe and I believe that we will be well placed to take advantage of new markets overseas. The UK has already secured trade agreements with 65 countries, plus the EU, worth £890 billion in 2019 and covering 63 per cent of total UK trade. The UK has also applied to join the £9 trillion Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Nevertheless, the UK will continue to cooperate with the EU across a range of areas including trade and security. European nations are some of our closest allies and partners, a relationship that it has been clear both sides wish to maintain.