Why I supported the Brexit Deal
30th December 2020
I am pleased that the commitments made to the people of Castle Point and the British public during the 2016 referendum and in the General Election last year have now been delivered. We have taken back control of our money, borders, laws, trade and waters.
As promised by the Government, this deal takes back control of our laws, borders, money, trade and fisheries – and it ends any role for the European Court. From 1st January 2021, the United Kingdom will have political and economic independence – and we will thrive as a country now fully outside the European Union.
The deal the Government has secured is the first FTA the EU has ever reached based on zero tariffs and zero quotas, and is great news for families and businesses in Castle Point and every part of the UK. 2021 will be our opportunity to show what Global Britain means to the rest of the world: striking trade deals with new markets, reasserting ourselves as a liberal and free trading nation; and acting as a force for good in the world.
The agreement the Government have secured:
- Is based on international law, not EU law. There is no role for the European Court of Justice and no requirements for the UK to continue to follow EU law. All of our key red lines about returning sovereignty have been achieved. We will have full political and economic independence on 1st January 2021 and our laws will be determined by our own elected politicians.
- It is the first free trade agreement based on zero tariffs and zero quotas that the EU has ever agreed. This will be fantastic news for families and businesses in every part of the UK. Businesses will be able to continue to trade smoothly and people will be able to continue to buy goods from Europe tariff-free. From financial services through to automotive manufacturing, the deal protects high quality jobs and investment right across the UK. And people will be able to continue to buy goods from Europe tariff-free, protecting consumer prices.
- Secures on the Government’s pledge to protect and boost our economy and provides for continued market access across a broad scope of key service sectors, including professional and business services. This market access will support new and continued investment between businesses. It also means that business travellers will be able to easily move between the EU and the UK for short term visits and the agreement on financial services ensures financial stability and consumer protection.
- Recognises UK sovereignty over our fishing waters and puts us in a position to rebuild our fishing fleet and increase quotas, overturning the inequity that British fishermen have faced for over four decades. By the end of the five-and-a-half-year transition period, we will have full control of our waters and the amount of fish available to UK fishermen will have risen from half to two-thirds.
- Delivers on the Government’s commitment to maintaining high labour, environment and climate standards without giving the EU any say over our rules. The UK’s high standards have never been dependent on EU membership. For example, our living wage and entitlements to sick pay, parental leave and annual leave already go way beyond what the EU requires.
- Allows us to introduce our own subsidy system so that we can better support businesses to grow and thrive. This new subsidy regime will operate in a way that best suits the interests of UK industries - fundamentally different from EU State Aid.
- Supports our primary objective of prioritising the safety and security of the UK’s citizens. It offers streamlined co-operation on law enforcement, ensuring we continue to effectively tackle serious organised crime and counter terrorism, protecting the public, and bringing criminals to justice. It also provides for future cooperation between the UK and EU on emerging security challenges, such as cyber and health security, including continuing to work together on tackling the spread of Covid-19.
- Provides for the UK’s participation in certain EU programmes where they are in our interest and fulfilling the Government’s commitment to making the UK a science and research superpower. We will continue to participate in the science and research programmes, Horizon Europe, Euratom Research and Training programme, and the space programme, Copernicus.
- Delivers for our citizens, making our daily lives easier. It includes arrangements for airlines and hauliers that provides them with certainty, and gives people the ability to travel to and from the EU easily for work and holidays; a social security agreement that has practical benefits for UK citizens including accessing healthcare when travelling in the EU; and agreements on energy which will benefit consumers by helping to keep prices down.
- Finally, the deal delivers for the entire UK, protecting the integrity of our internal market and Northern Ireland’s place within it. Northern Ireland businesses will have unfettered access to the rest of the UK market under all circumstances; there are no tariffs on goods remaining within the UK customs territory; the deal enables smooth flow of trade with no need for new physical customs infrastructure; and there is no legal confusion about the fact that, while Northern Ireland will remain subject to the EU’s State Aid regime for the duration of the Protocol, Great Britain will not be subject to EU rules in this area.
How can I still travel to EU countries now?
From now on you can travel to countries within the Schengen are for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa. The Schengen area includes most EU nations and Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Check here if where you’re travelling is in the Schengen zone: https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/sites/homeaffairs/files/e-library/docs/schengen_brochure/schengen_brochure_dr3111126_en.pdf
In addition to a visa if necessary, you will need:
- At least six months left on your passport, except for trips to Ireland
- Have travel insurance with health cover. Your current EHIC card will be valid until its expiry date and will be replaced by a new scheme in the future. In the meantime, travel insurance with health cover is advised.
- Make sure you have checked roaming charges with your mobile provider as the guarantee of free roaming will end.
- Have obtained an animal health certificate from your vet at least ten days before you travel if travelling with your pet. The current EU pet passport scheme no longer applies.
- Use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens at border control.
Check this link out for further queries: https://www.gov.uk/visit-europe-1-january-2021
Do I need a new blue passport, or can I keep my red one?
All red passports are still valid for travel until they expire, but make sure you get a new passport when you have six months left if you are intending to travel.
What changes with residency in EU countries?
If you are already living in an EU country, you will have certain protection under the withdrawal agreement. You may need to register or apply for residency, new documents or specific requirements. You can check your residency and eligibility here: https://www.gov.uk/uk-nationals-living-eu
If you plan to move to the EU in 2021, you no longer have automatic right to live, work, study or retire there. You need a visa if you are going for any other reason other than tourism. Because of the Common Travel Are, rights of Irish citizens do not change.
You can find out more information on this here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/common-travel-area-guidance/common-travel-area-guidance
Are our standards going to lower?
NO. We are upholding our environment and climate standards and maintaining high labour without giving the EU any say over our rules. We have always exceeded EU standards, but we can now push for even better without the ruling eye of the EU.
What about national security?
We have a primary objective in prioritising the safety and security of the UK’s citizens. This new deal enables us to offer streamlined co-operation on law enforcement, ensuring we continue to effectively tackle serious organised crime and counter terrorism. We will protect the public and we will bring criminals to justice. Although we are separating from the EU and will be working even harder to make the UK an even safer place to live, we will be continuing to cooperate with the EU on emerging global security challenges, such as cyber and health security, this includes continuing to work together on tackling the spread of COVID-19.
What’s happening with Northern Ireland and business there?
The deal protects the UK internal market and Northern Ireland’s place within it. Northern Ireland businesses will have unconstrained access to the rest of the UK market under all circumstances. The deal enables smooth flow of trade with no need for physical customs infrastructure. Northern Ireland will remain subject to the EU’s State Aid regime for the duration of the Protocol; however, Britain will not be subject to this in any way.
Are we participating in Erasmus+ this year?
We have concluded that the next Erasmus+ programme is not in the UK’s best interests to participate. Our public mandate set out that we would consider parts of Erasmus+ on a time-limited basis, provided these were in the best interest of the UK. However, the EU could not meet those terms and we concluded that participation would not provide value for money and be in the interests of the UK taxpayer.
We recognise that international exchange is fantastic for education and training. So, we have devised our own programme called the Turing Scheme which will be backed by over £100m, providing funding for around 35,000 students to study overseas. This will start in September 2021. The new scheme will support similar numbers to that of Erasmus+ whilst offering a larger selection of countries across the world, not just confined to the EU states. This will give better value for money to taxpayers.
We are opening opportunities to students from disadvantaged backgrounds, who may have not previously benefited from Erasmus+. These opportunities can be life-changing, and we want to make this accessible to everyone studying in the UK in all types of higher education. Disadvantaged students will receive increased rates of funding to support them to be able to participate and will also be able to help with other one-off costs like passports and visas.
Disabled students will be helped with additional funding to help meet extra costs like preparatory visits for reasonable adjustments. We are also working closely with universities and colleges to ensure that they particularly encourage students underrepresented in mobilities to take part in the programme.
What about duty-free shopping?
Duty free shopping will return if you travel to the EU, although there will now be limits to the amount you can bring in duty-free from the EU. The permitted amount of duty-free tobacco and alcohol will increase so e.g. ring in 18 litres of still wine and 42 litres of beer.
How will immigration work?
From January, we will be operating a new points-based system, like the Australian model. This aims to have a more skilled workforce in the UK. It is also makes it fairer for those trying to emigrate from non-EU countries as they will be treated as equals to EU citizens. People wanting to move to the UK to work, live or study will have to apply and pay for a visa.
To find out more on the new points-based system click here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-immigration-system-what-you-need-to-know
- See the new rules now that the transition period is over, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/transition.
- View the ‘Summary Explainer’ for the Brexit Deal, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/agreements-reached-between-the-united-kingdom-of-great-britain-and-northern-ireland-and-the-european-union/summary-explainer