Brexit: A good deal for Cornwall

I am clear that the outcome of the referendum should be respected and will work to ensure that the majority view expressed here in St Austell and Newquay is delivered in a way that is best for the constituency and for Cornwall as a whole.  This means that any deal put to parliament must:

  • Ensure key Cornish exports to the EU such as fish, agriculture and food products, do not face import tariffs or additional bureaucracy that will impact adversely on our economy
  • Ensure that farms and other businesses who rely on workers from other EU countries are able to access the labour they need to produce the goods they sell
  • Ensure that the environmental standards set through our membership of the EU that protect our beaches and encourage tourism are not undermined
  • Ensure that we can continue to work in partnership with our closest neighbours and allies on critical issues such as climate change and the fight against terrorism, from wherever it comes

In addition it is critical that we retain the £60M a year our economy gets directly from the EU’s development fund in any post-Brexit economic settlement by the UK government for the regions and nations.

I am by far the best candidate to work towards these goals.  The track record of the current MP is one of slavish loyalty to party and this is not what we need at this time.  He and his Tory colleagues have had no positive impact for Cornwall since their election two years ago – just look at what they managed to get to fund investment in developing our economy:  the LEP asked for over £100M and we got just £13M.

We cannot give Theresa May a blank cheque on Brexit. The British people voted for departure but not for a destination, which is why we are also calling for the government to give the British people a vote on the final deal that they negotiate with Europe.  It can’t be right to deny the people a say once the deal is understood.

I believe that free trade is a good thing.  It creates jobs, increases prosperity and the tax receipts from the businesses who benefit help pay for things like the NHS, schools and other key public services.  The single market was a UK invention, not an EU one.  Implemented through the leadership of a conservative government it has helped to propel growth in key sectors of the Cornish economy.  Without continued membership of this and the customs union (or a deal that replicates all the benefits) we will be poorer here, in Cornwall and right across the UK.

As I talk to many people who voted leave and listen to their concerns, virtually all of them are clear:  they didn’t vote for Cornwall to become poorer, lose jobs and as a result have less well-funded public services.  We can’t trust our future here to a Tory who will vote unquestioning for any deal to help the government save face, regardless of the impact on Cornwall.  Returning me as your MP won’t stop the Tories getting a majority, but it will ensure that, with other Liberal Democrats, they will face a coherent, campaigning opposition whose job is to get the best deal for Cornwall.