28 APR 2017

Internationalism and the Henley constituency

No mainstream political party denies the result of the referendum on 23 June.  Each of them has said that they accept and acknowledge the result.  So what it is the argument really about?

Some initially said that they wanted a new referendum either now or at the end of the process which the Archbishop of Canterbury, no Conservative stooge, had said is not "a good way of dealing with the process at the end of negotiation. It will add to our divisions; it will deepen the bitterness. It is not democratic".

So what this election seems to come down to is whether the PM is going for a 'hard brexit' or not.

The term 'hard Brexit' is a self-defining one meaning whatever you want it to. Some choose to bring the subject down to one issue - access to the Single Market.  But is a Brexit that involves workers' rights, a common travel area with Ireland, maintaining crime and terrorism co-operation, protecting the rights of both EU nationals in this country and of British nationals living in the rest of Europe and a strong working partnership really a 'hard brexit'? I think not.  The Prime Minister said that "we seek the greatest possible access to [the single market] through a new, comprehensive, bold and ambitious free trade agreement.....That agreement may take in elements of current single market arrangements."

I am unashamedly an internationalist. I defend the work of the Council of Europe over human rights and believe it is important to hold member countries to account.  I am also working to help Europe deal with the problem of populism - a new phenomenon for the continent.  Through my work on the Council of Europe I make sure that Britain's voice continues to be heard.  On the international stage, I am very involved in the Middle East where I have talked to both sides in the Israeli-Palestinian argument and held high level meetings with the PLO.  Africa is a challenging market where my work as the PM's Trade Envoy to Nigeria involves me in advising not on the details of trade agreements but on the macro-economic course set by the Nigerain government. I cannot think of a better time for the Henley constituency to have such an internationalist as its MP and how much this contributes to the role of the UK in the world and to the prestige of the Henley constituency.

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