The Withdrawal Agreement does not deliver on the expectations of those who voted to leave the EU, argues Sammy Wilson MP

The nation is rightly consumed with the health and economic crisis caused by the coronavirus which has brought tragedy to many homes across the UK, has put immense pressure on our Health Service, is already having a dramatic impact on businesses and the economy, has totally altered the government's fiscal strategy and has spread fear across the population. It is right that we give priority to dealing with this issue but it is important that we prepare for a future beyond the current health crisis because by the end of this year we will have fully left the EU.

This will give us the opportunity to determine how we want regulate our economy, develop our long term economic strategy, improve life for our consumers and producers and shape our country's economic and political relationships with other countries in the world. Those of us who campaigned successfully to leave the EU and the millions of people who votes for that outcome have always contended that the freedom which that choice will give us can be used to create a more democratic system of government and a more dynamic economy.

Whilst the Prime Minister has claimed that Brexit is done the fact is that the withdrawal agreement does not deliver on the expectations which those who voted to leave the EU. In particular the Northern Ireland protocol has serious implications for the economy of NI, the constitution of the UK and the freedom of future governments to exercise sovereign authority free from Brussels and the ECJ.

That is why I have joined with MPs and Lords from across the political spectrum to form the Centre for Brexit Policy which intends to be at the forefront in proposing and promoting the policy changes required to ensure that "Brexit gets done" and the right policies are put in place to capitalise on our new found freedom to deliver prosperity for the whole country. Drawing on expert advice from a wide range of academics, policy makers and people with experience and expertise in a wide range of fields it is our aim to pioneer, promote and persuade the government to adopt policies which ensure we fully take back control and deliver the promised prosperity for the whole country.

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The most immediate issue is to advise how the government can best position itself in the negotiations which will take place with the EU this year to determine what our relationship will be in the future. Central to this is the need to eradicate the mistakes made in agreeing to the separate arrangements for NI and how these can be turned around.

In the medium term we will be working on policies to ensure that economic growth is spread across the whole of the UK avoiding the concentration of economic activity in the South of England while has caused so much poverty in places like N.I. Central to this will be the policies on extending our trading relationships with other parts of the world. The more we look beyond Europe especially to America the greater the opportunities for places like N.I. and the NW of England which will geographically be orientated towards the growing markets so an important part of the work of the Centre for Brexit Policy will be on future trading relationships.

We have become used to accepting the stifling blanket of the EU regulation on our businesses. Indeed some sectors of our economy have welcomed the cosy protective comfort which it gave them even though it stifled competition  or sometimes because it stifled competition and closed out the innovators which every economy needs if it is to achieve healthy growth and adapt to a changing world. Economic growth, consumers, entrepreneurs all suffered from the stifling hand of overbearing and unsuitable regulations forced on us from Brussels often at the behest of powerful lobbies interested in protecting their sector at the expense of the consumer and new businesses. One of the exciting roles of the Centre for Brexit Policy will be to bring forward proposals for undoing or replacing the 50,000 laws and regulations which have been foisted on our country from Brussels and so damaged our economy.

We must look beyond this current crisis, draw on the best brains available to us and plan for a brighter future for our economy. Policy think tanks have an important role to play in advising and helping in the political decisions which need to be made and I am pleased to be part of a national cross party endeavour to help achieve that new post Brexit prosperity.

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