Parliament feels very different compared to last year as the Government has a working majority and already things are getting done. Last week after three years we finally passed the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement in the House of Commons to enact the 2016 referendum result. I know that some constituents will be disappointed by the fact that we are leaving the EU, but it is our intention to build a close, cooperative relationship with our European friends and allies.
I made this point last week when I spoke in the Brexit debate, calling on the Government to ensure the needs of our businesses, from manufacturing to farming and fishing, are put at the heart of our future relationship to protect our economy and jobs.
Over the past few years, there has been a lot of rhetoric about what Brexit does and doesn’t mean, much of it misleading on both sides. I recently highlighted the importance of many EU regulations to industries that are crucial to our local economy, Rolls Royce is our largest employer locally with more than 2000 employees. They rely on close alignment with EU and global manufacturing standards. By contrast, there are emerging tech sectors developing at pace. In many of these new digital sectors of the economy including artificial intelligence, datamining, and the Internet of Things, the standards are still emerging, and the UK is a leader. It doesn’t make sense to restrict ourselves in emerging technologies. A clip of my speech is on my website, gilliankeegan.com
Brexit has always required balance, both in recognising the benefits of a productive and respectful future relationship with the EU, and equally, the opportunities that lie ahead of us as we leave. I am sure that we will find this balance; keeping close where it is mutually beneficial and diverging where it’s appropriate to do so.
This week in Parliament we are debating the Queen’s Speech as we look ahead to the Government’s ambitious programme to fulfil our manifesto commitments. These include increased investment in education of £14bn, which includes more money for FE colleges and small rural primary schools. Locally our schools are getting 5.31% more funding in 2020/21. There are 20,000 more police joining the force and locally Katy Bourne has brought in new specialist-PCSOs to tackle rural crime including theft and fly-tipping. Alongside all this investment there’s new legislation coming forward to improve the environment, our National Health Service and much more. Regular updates will be posted on my website, gilliankeegan.com