Last week Prime Minister Theresa May gave an excellent Mansion House speech. I would go as far as saying that it was her best Brexit speech to date. It was serious, detailed and statesmanlike.

She was forthright that she is delivering on the will of the British people: for us to take back control of our money, laws, border and trade and to take Britain out of the Customs Union, the Single Market and the European Court of Justice.

Theresa May on top form after excellent Mansion House speechThe Prime Minister maintained crucial red lines and took a sensible, pragmatic and generous approach; offering the EU a close and special partnership, whilst also being extremely clear on Northern Ireland.

She satisfied those of us who voted for Brexit by painting an optimistic picture of our global free-trading future, striking trade deals with the emerging economies of the East. After all, the European Commission themselves have admitted that 90 per cent of future global economic growth will come from outside the EU bloc.

But she also satisfied those who voted remain by outlining a vision for opting into associate membership of EU bodies such as the European Medicines Agency and the European Aviation Safety Agency. I do not agree with those people who have said that paying amounts to a betrayal of Brexit. The sums involved will be tiny in comparison to what we have paid for EU membership — millions, not billions — and most importantly, we have the power to choose whether or not we opt in or out. Also, such decisions will be subject to British laws and courts, and any binding commitments will be on the basis of normal international treaty law and not subject to the ECJ.

Mrs May’s vision has brought the country together. No deal still remains a viable option and is still better than a bad deal. But ideally we want to achieve a deal that benefits us and the EU. Both sides must recognise that everyone will have to give up something to move forward, so now is not the time to nitpick.

As she demonstrated, being strong and clear works, and I hope to see the country become more united behind the Prime Minister’s vision. It is now down to the EU to response with wisdom and not aggression. As Mrs May rightly said:

‘We have a shared interest in getting this right. Let’s get on with it’.

Onwards and upwards!

Cllr Joe Porter, Endon

Former Vote Leave Campaign Coordinator for North Staffordshire

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