The appetite for a clean and comprehensive Brexit has grown since last June

The appetite for a clean and comprehensive Brexit has grown since last June

There are two reasons why I first got involved in politics and wanted to serve in public life: to hopefully leave my community in a better state than I found it and to see the UK leave the EU. So I was delighted that the community in Crawley joined with me last year in backing Brexit – by 58 percent in fact.

Just over ten months later and I’m now engaged in another campaign, seeking re-election as Crawley’s MP. Whilst this isn’t a re-run of the referendum debate, the outcome will determine the kind of Brexit we get or even whether Brexit is delivered at all.

As MP and now a candidate, engaging with people across Crawley, there are obviously many issues that, apart from Brexit, are raised; taxes, public services, the local environment, housing, immigration – understandably enduring subjects – but there is also a recognition that our leaving the EU is essential to better delivery of domestic priorities too.

Unlike those who are disdainful of the majority’s decision to leave, people here understand that there is no such thing as EU money – just their hard-earned taxpayers’ money; and that if we don’t have to send it any more to an inefficient, bureaucratic and wasteful Brussels system then we can then use those resources for national consumption. Individuals I meet also quite understand that the EU had become increasingly undemocratic, centralising and inward-looking to the detriment, not in some abstract way to our national tradition of liberty, but in a very real way of limiting our country’s horizons.

Far from what some metropolitan elite media outlets and politicians would have us believe, in Crawley and across the country, the appetite for cleanly and comprehensively leaving the EU, efficiently as well as successfully, is a priority that has grown, not diminished since last June.

With Gatwick Airport and many multi-national companies based in the constituency, some wonder why Crawley wasn’t more of a Remain area, but they are often the same individuals who mistake the EU for being internationalist – it isn’t.

True, routes from Gatwick comprehensively serve Europe, but more now connect us with a world network of destinations from emerging Asian markets to North American cities. For example, Norwegian Airlines – a non-EU, European carrier – is significantly expanding direct intercontinental connections. In a way this exemplifies my belief about Britain’s position in the world, as an island trading nation with unique global links – a conduit between our proximity to Europe and our international relationships built up over centuries.

The message I can convey from Crawley is overwhelmingly that Brexit must be achieved. A year ago the then administration issued (a taxpayer-funded) booklet to every household across the UK explaining why it thought we should stay in the EU and crucially – infamously even – what it saw as the dire consequences of leaving the bloc, along with the single market and customs union. People read the advice and a majority voted for Brexit – indeed by more votes than for any poll ever in British history.

Having voted for Brexit, this is a process that must now be honoured and completed – but that is in the balance. At the General Election the choice is stark: a clear plan with a strong and stable future from Theresa May and the Conservatives or the unwilling doubts of the left being pursued by Labour, the nationalists and so-called Liberal Democrats.

The decision and our direction is in the hands of the British people – I trust their judgement.