January 7th 2019
I have received many letters and emails from residents in Staffordshire Moorlands sharing their views and concerns on the Government's proposed deal to leave the European Union.
I appreciate that not everyone will support my position to back this deal. But I have always done what I believe is in the best interests of my constituents.
This deal delivers on the referendum result, takes back control of our borders and ends free movement once and for all, whilst protecting jobs, security and the integrity of the United Kingdom.
Crucially it respects in full the decision of the British people and the residents of Staffordshire Moorlands to leave the European Union.
In the coming weeks, MPs have an incredibly important decision to make. If Parliament backs the deal, then the United Kingdom can turn a corner and 2019 can be the year we put our differences aside and move forward together.
There is broad support for many of the key aspects of the deal but there still remains concern around the Northern Ireland and Ireland backstop. The Prime Minister has listened and is seeking the further assurances that MPs need.
But it is important to be clear. This deal secured by the Prime Minister is in the best interests of Staffordshire Moorlands and the whole of the United Kingdom.
This deal puts Staffordshire Moorlands in a fantastic position for the future and confirms that the days of handing over vast sums of money to the EU each year are over. Instead we can spend our money on important local priorities, such as investing in the NHS and public services.
If we come together in 2019, we can make a success of what lies ahead and build a country that truly works for every one of us.
November 26th 2018 - The Brexit Deal
Last week marked the culmination of a long and complex process of negotiation between the United Kingdom and the European Union. The Prime Minister went to Brussels and came home with an agreed Brexit deal which fulfils the democratic decision of the British public, including my constituents in Staffordshire Moorlands.
This is an incredibly important moment for the Moorlands and I want to take this opportunity to explain what this deal means to our future.
First, control of our borders. Not an emergency brake on free movement or a promise of greater transition controls in the future - but an end to the free movement of people, in full, once and for all.
Second, control of our money. Not a reduction in our membership fee, but an end to vast annual payments being sent to the EU. That is what this deal delivers.
Instead, the Government will be able to focus taxpayers’ money on the domestic issues that matter to my constituents. Like the £394 million per week of extra investment we are putting into the NHS and taking care of our public services.
Third, control over our laws. Not just the return of some areas of control from Brussels - but our laws being made in our country by democratically elected politicians, interpreted and enforced by British courts.
Clearly there has been a range of strong opinions on the negotiation process, but you do not get everything you want in any negotiation.
You need to identify what your vital interests are and stick to them, but be prepared to compromise in other areas in order to achieve a result.
The referendum was won on three main issues: borders, laws and money. This deal will deliver on all three.
But of most importance, this deal is in the best interest of Staffordshire Moorlands.
I know from conversations I have with constituents that people just want the Government to get on with it.
They want a good deal done that fulfils the vote and allows us to look forward, not back. That is what this deal delivers.
It supports our thriving industries, such as agriculture, and protects local jobs and businesses.
For example, in agriculture - so vital to our local economy in the Moorlands - it does not just deliver a better deal under the Common Agricultural Policy; it takes us out of the CAP completely, meaning we can design new systems of support for farmers.
At the same time, it delivers the certainty and clarity that local businesses have called for since the referendum.
Fantastic local businesses, such as Ornua Foods and Scabetti, can now rest assured that they will have time to adjust to our new relationship, avoid a cliff edge, and therefore protect vital jobs and investment.
Outside of the EU we will also be able to strike new trade deals around the world and open up new markets in the world’s fastest growing economies.
But before this, MPs need to vote on this deal before Christmas.
It will be one of the most significant votes that Parliament has held for many years. On it will depend whether we move forward together into a brighter future or open the door to yet more division and uncertainty.
So as your Member of Parliament I will be wholeheartedly supporting this deal which is in the best interest of my constituents, and avoids going back to square one with all the chaos that would entail.
This deal puts Staffordshire Moorlands in a fantastic position for the future and I hope it has your support.
October 18th 2018
Last night, the Prime Minister addressed the European Council in Brussels, setting out the good progress we have made in Brexit negotiations so far, and what needs to be agreed to achieve a deal which works for both the UK and the EU.
The Prime Minister spoke to leaders about the good progress that has been made since Salzburg both on the Withdrawal Agreement and our future relationship with the EU.
There are issues remaining around the Northern Irish backstop, which would come into place to ensure there is no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland if the future relationship isn’t in place at the end of the implementation period. The original proposal from the EU was one that we could not accept in the UK as it would have created a customs border down the Irish Sea.
Earlier this year, we put forward our own proposal to resolve this issue. A further idea which has emerged - and it is only an idea at this stage - is to create an option to extend the implementation period for a matter of months, and it would only be for a matter of months.
This is not expected to be used because we are working with the EU to ensure we have our future relationship in place by the end of December 2020. In those circumstances, there would be no need for any extension of the implementation period.
We are working hard for a deal this autumn – including both a Withdrawal Agreement and a precise Future Framework – and that continues at pace. This is the time for cool, calm heads to prevail with a clear-eyed focus on the few remaining but critical issues that are still to be agreed.