After a week of very useful meetings and surgeries around High Peak, it’s back to London for a hectic couple of weeks in Parliament. Next week will be the final House of Commons stages of the EU Withdrawal Bill.
Decisions taken now will affect the UK for many years to come. After nine months of Brexit negotiations, there is now a lot more information available than when the EU Referendum took place on what the UK can and cannot hope to achieve. We can have far more detailed discussions on the different options for a deal and their implications, both nationally and locally.
Some constituents have told me that all the additional information has made them change their mind. Some people who voted to leave the EU now regret that they did so, whilst some who voted Remain feel that we just need to end the uncertainty and get on with implementing Brexit.
I believe it is only right to give all constituents the opportunity to let me know their views – not just whether they still support Leave or Remain, but how they feel about the more detailed decisions that need to made over Brexit:
- Membership of the Customs Union or the implications of tariffs on our trade with the EU, and the possible benefits from securing additional trade deals
- How we could limit immigration from EU countries – and the impact of reciprocal arrangements on UK residents travelling or living in the EU
- Staying in the Single Market or possible membership of the European Economic Area
- Whether we would want a Transitional Arrangement after March 2019 – and if so, for how long and of what type
These are all vital questions which will have a direct impact on High Peak residents and businesses.
I feel it is important to hear the views of local people and what you want from Brexit before I decide how to vote on any amendments at this crucial stage. I have therefore organised open meetings for High Peak residents:
Friday 12 January, 7.30pm to 9pm at Buxton Methodist Church, Chapel Street, SK17 6HX.
Saturday 13 January, 7.30pm to 9pm at Glossop Methodist Church, Chapel Street, SK13 8AT.
Thank you to Stephen Minter, former Chief Executive of High Peak Citizens Advice, who has kindly agreed to chair the meetings.
For anyone unable to attend, there is a short survey of the key questions on my website: www.ruthforhighpeak.co.uk
I know from my postbag that there will be a wide range of views and I am looking forward to some informative and interesting discussions on how we can secure the best possible future for the UK – and for High Peak.