My article for Walsall Advertiser – 9 January 2017

Here is my latest View from the House published in the Walsall Advertiser:

I wish you all a Happy and successful 2017. This year will be as challenging as the last year. Six months on from the result of the EU referendum there is no clarity about the negotiating objectives of this Government.

The resignation of a senior diplomat, Sir Ivan Rogers, whose role is to follow Government policy, to leave the EU, is a setback to our negotiating team. An imminent Judgment from the Supreme Court on whether Article 50 should be triggered by Government alone or by Parliament following the Government’s appeal, is awaited. No clear plan by the Government adds to the confusion.

At the time of the referendum, the ‘Leave’ Campaign was in no position to implement whatever programme it had laid out. Nor was there a clear programme. Indeed, the ‘Leave’ side was profoundly divided on a range of issues from immigration to our position in the world. The leave campaign have since said they were wrong on the £350 million will be returned to the UK for the NHS.

There are a number of Parliamentary inquiries underway which may help form a strategy, which are worth a mention. The Committee for the Department for Exiting the EU (DexEU) inquiry launched on 3 November 2016, will look at the UK’s negotiating objectives for our withdrawal from the EU. It will explore what areas need to be negotiated, where the Government aims to be by the end of the Article 50 process, and the capacity of the new DexEU to deliver this.

The House of Lords reported (December 2016) on “Brexit: Financial Services.” Their report confirms that London is currently ranked as the leading financial services centre in the world. They call for a transition period to protect jobs in this sector. The Environmental Audit Committee report states that the Prime Minister has indicated that the UK is likely to leave the single market and the Customs Union. But it is unclear whether the Government will take that line. It calls for a new Environmental Protection Act while negotiations are ongoing.

Whilst the task is enormous we need to remember the reasons we joined the EU and why the vote was to Leave. That way all views can be respected and we can negotiate from a position that protects jobs, workers’ rights, the environment and security- best for the UK not based on the rhetoric of the campaign or this clueless Government.