As Parliament returns this week, the most simple, yet, for some, contentious piece of legislation has its second reading – the Repeal Bill, or to give it its full title – The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill. Despite all previous Parliamentary votes on matters relating to our withdrawal from the EU passing comfortably, we now have mixed messages from the Labour Party as to what they think a post-Brexit Britain or interim should look like. This topic is too important to play politics with and I hope, on this historic issue, the country will be put first, not petty game-playing. My interpretation is simple – the regaining of our laws, borders and money and honouring the clear intent of the majority who voted for that in June last year. This cannot mean allowing the jurisdiction of the increasingly ambitious European Court of Justice to have effect in the UK by staying in the Single Market, nor allowing the EU to speak for us on international trade matters via continued membership of the Customs Union. The opportunity for new trade deals and friendships is the true ‘Brexit dividend’ of a truly global Britain
The behaviour of EU negotiators has been questionable, insisting on the settlement of a divorce bill before allowing talks to advance into matters of what the shape of trade between the EU and the UK will look like post-Brexit. I am sure I speak for many that this behaviour merely confirms all the suspicions about what was wrong with the EU, and that our vote to leave was absolutely the right one.
Early rising has never been one of my strong suits, I’ve always been more of a ‘night owl’, but the opportunity to do the newspaper review at 7am for BBC Radio Kent, live from Tunbridge Wells, was sufficient to get me on the road early. Spare a thought for all who work unsociable hours as the norm to keep the world turning. I covered diverse news topics from the strange irritant gas that hit the Sussex coast, the increasingly worrying situation in North Korea, the 20th anniversary of the death of Princess Diana, to the very human story of a local illegal immigrant whose attempts to remain through the courts system had concluded and failed and the quite bizarre new adverts by the Financial Conduct Authority encouraging final claims for PPI compensation, utilising Arnold Swarzenegger in its multi-million advertising drive. Underlying this is the fact that £50 billion of potential claims still exist. This would represent £75 million in South Thanet alone if successfully made.
I am yet to try the new Wetherspoons in Ramsgate, but will do shortly. All I have spoken to are hugely impressed with the quality of the refurbishment. By all accounts it has been extremely busy which has caused some consternation by local bar and restaurant owners. I’ve always taken the view that business makes business, so let’s see the effect on the local economy as it beds down.