BREXIT OPPORTUNITIES

The Midsomer Norton and Radstock Journal, 16th February 2022

When the Prime Minister announced the Brexit deal in December 2020, he said: “We have taken back control of laws and our destiny. We have taken back control of every jot and tittle of our regulation in a way that is complete and unfettered destiny.”

Before Brexit, many constituents would write to me to complain about regulations that burdened them daily. From farmers to electricians, on so many issues I had to tell them that even as their Member of Parliament (MP) I could not help to solve their problems as these rules were set by the European Union (EU), not the British Parliament.

Thanks to Brexit, this has all changed. As the Prime Minister said, Britain has won the right to “set our own standards, to innovate in the way that we want” and to use regulatory competition to make the most of our newfound freedoms. Recently, I was appointed Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency to ensure that this is all achieved.

Competition, innovation and deregulation sit at the heart of my mission. The immense talent and ambition across the whole United Kingdom (UK) is our greatest national asset and I firmly believe that the Government should never stand in the way of its flourishing.

The vaccine procurement programme is one example of what Brexit opportunities can look like. Suffocating EU procurement laws and bureaucracy were overridden by the Vaccines Taskforce and Dame Kate Bingham, led by a Prime Minister who took such a great risk in the face of overwhelming opposition.

There is hardly a better example of why Britain must forge ahead with a deregulatory agenda and diverge from EU rules, which prioritise process over results and protect incumbents instead of letting new businesses thrive. Brexit opportunities and government efficiency have the same ambition: making the lives of British people easier.

Just as the Government is combing through our statute books and regulations to get rid of obsolete EU laws it is also squeezing efficiency out of the British state, making public services more responsive to modern needs and breaking the government out of its Whitehall ivory towers with a relocation programme. Equally, to guarantee that the British people have access to the world’s best medicines we can use our freedom to approve life-saving drugs faster and at better prices than ever before, making a great legacy of the vaccine programme.

However, it is vital that the Conservative Party remains the party of prosperity and enterprise in government, which is why we are using this scope to make great changes. This includes a new procurement regime so that small businesses find it easier to gain access to public contracts. There will also be a new approach to data, removing the EU’s cumbersome policy that makes a sole trader comply with the same heavy regulations as a multinational company.

Over decades of membership of the EU, our country has been encumbered by the shackles of Brussels bureaucracy. At last we are free but we must fight on - it will be a national effort to realise the potential that we have to make Britain great again.

If readers have any suggestions about abolishing EU regulations please write to me: publiccorrespondence@cabinetoffice.gov.uk / Cabinet Office, 70 Whitehall, London, SW1A 2AS.

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