The vote for or against Brexit was simple but the reality of doing BREXIT is the most complex political activity that has every happened in our lifetime. Being in the single market or the customs union or free movement of people are three very complex realities. However, my overriding concern when considering the terms of our leaving is that no one in Hove or Portslade is worse off when we depart the EU.
I have been against a panicked BREXIT and the triggering of 'Article 50' in March until we are all clear that any BREXIT deal will be beneficial to us. I simply won't support it until there is clarity about what new relationships will replace that of the EU and the impact this will have on our business community in Brighton and Hove. I therefore welcome the Supreme Court judgement which gives Parliament a vote over triggering Brexit.
My argument to the government is simple. I have set three tests of the government before I will vote for their BREXIT deal:
- Our city has two universities. They get almost £10 million in EU funding and have people from all over the EU who come here to teach and study. TEST: After leaving the EU, people who come to Brighton to teach and learn at our world-class universities will not face bureaucratic or financial barriers.
- Over 8 million tourists visit Brighton and Hove every year making it the most popular seaside destination in the UK. TEST: After leaving the EU, will tourists from the EU be able to visit the UK visa-free?
- Brighton and Hove has the head offices of American Express, EDF and an economy that is outward facing and connected to the European Single Market. TEST: After leaving the EU will our businesses still have access to the maximum pool of talent and labour or will it be reduced? And will our fantastic small businesses face punitive charges and form-filling if they want to buy and sell to European markets?
I will support the triggering of 'Article 50' when we can be confident that it will bring benefits to these three areas.
Every week between now and the vote – in both Hove and in Parliament - I will be seeking to clarify the Governments negotiating position and how my priorities for the residents of Hove and Portslade can become part of the outcome of the settlement?
I am pushing myself into this negotiating process at every opportunity and will make the interests of the people of Hove clear at every stage of that process. This means I am taking the negotiations seriously because I want concrete outcomes for the people of Hove and Portslade.