Westminster Diary by Harriett Baldwin MP
28th February 2017
Last month, the Government published an important consultation document – the Industrial Strategy Green Paper – which sets out a blueprint for how we can help our economy to grow and thrive in years to come. Local businesses are already hard at work looking to new markets to export with the support of great teams at the Departments for Business and International Trade.
The House of Commons has now voted to confirm the Government can trigger Article 50 and start the process of negotiating a new deal with Europe. This will happen by the end of March, despite the recent Supreme Court decision. The Government has also published a white paper setting out the plans for exiting the European Union and how we will create a new future for our country. As we end our membership of the Union – as the British people voted with determination and quiet resolve to do last year – we have the opportunity to reassert our belief in a confident, sovereign and global Britain, ready to build relationships with old friends and new allies alike. Although we are not allowed under EU rules to sign new trade deals until we have left the EU, we can do a lot of the groundwork now, and it's clear the USA wants to start that process now.
While the UK voted to leave the EU, it was not a vote to leave Europe – we want to continue to be reliable partners, willing allies and close friends with European countries.
The good news is that our economy is continuing to expand – it grew by 0.6 per cent in the final three months of last year meaning the UK grew faster than any other major advanced economy in 2016. Every major sector of the economy grew last year, which is further evidence of the fundamental strength and resilience of the UK economy. In Brexit discussions and in the industrial strategy, it is crucial that we keep that strong economy and the jobs that go with it at the forefront of plans.
So as we negotiate a new deal for our country, we look to make Britain stronger, fairer and more active on the global stage. There will always be uncertainty in economics and world affairs but we are ready to seize the opportunities to create a competitive economy that works for everyone.