Future historians will look back on 2017 as a turning point in our nation’s history. And I believe that they will say that the UK’s departure from the sclerotic and inward-looking European Union allowed us to begin a new and brighter chapter in our national story.
Earlier this year, our Prime Minister gave a magnificent speech spelling out the UK’s future direction as a dynamic, sovereign, free-trading nation. However, this requires taking certain steps now, starting with triggering Article 50 and setting out plans to leave the jurisdiction of the European courts, the Single Market and the Customs Union.
This week, MPs were in the chamber debating on whether or not to give the Prime Minister the authority to trigger Article 50. The wording of the bill is brief and uncluttered. It is a binary question. I have always been clear that I will vote to trigger Article 50. The Referendum was approved by Act of Parliament and the Conservatives pledged to ‘respect the result’ of that referendum in the 2015 manifesto on which we were elected into Government.
But debate is healthy and I am glad that we have the opportunity to discuss the many facets of agreement and disagreement in the Chamber.
I fully expect that a huge majority of MPs will vote to give the Prime Minister the authority to trigger Article 50. Theresa May will then be able to go to the European Council with not only the legitimacy of the referendum result, but also of Parliament. Putting beyond any doubt the authority for the Government to take Britain out of the EU.
Our nation’s path over the next two years may include bumps in the road, both political and economic. However, I am certain that we have a Prime Minister, a Government and a set of British values with which to steady the course and make a great success of Brexit.