Bemused at the surrender of sovereignty at Maastricht, I was always going to be a Brexiteer

Bemused at the surrender of sovereignty at Maastricht, I was always going to be a Brexiteer

Earlier this month I had the great honour of winning the trust of the members of Buckingham Conservative Association to be their parliamentary candidate at the forthcoming general election.

Of course the subject of Brexit dominated multiple questions at the selection meeting and my message was clear. I was in secondary school when the Treaty of Maastricht was signed. My inquisitive early-1990s teenage mind was bemused that the UK could have even comprehended such a massive leap away from national sovereignty and sign up to a project that was no longer about just economics, but social and political integration, where Britain was no longer in control.

I always believed the UK would be stronger as an independent nation, looking outwards to the rest of the world, committed to global free trade. We may have escaped the euro, but the Blair/Brown governments’ relentless drive to integrate the UK further and further into the EU continued to anger me. Therefore, when the referendum came in 2016 it was never in doubt I would campaign and vote to Leave, a position I absolutely defend and advocate today.

It has been said a million times, but once more won’t hurt: the 2016 referendum delivered the largest democratic mandate ever given in our political history. Let’s not pretend it wasn’t close. Of course it was. Many of my closest friends campaigned just as passionately for Remain as I did for Leave. But the government asked a question and Britain gave an answer. My Remain friends respect that. And that is the point of this election, why we must go to the polls. Direct democracy has clashed with our representative democracy and it is hurting our country, politically, socially and economically.

Every minute of every day that Members of Parliament delay Brexit, or at worst attempt to thwart it altogether, leads to businesses – including many of my clients – not investing, jobs not being created and promising trade deals being left unsigned. We’ve got to break this deadlock and get on with the day job.

Likewise, with the government tied up, battling to simply get the first phase of withdrawal over the line (some three and a half years after the poll), public services and often those most vulnerable groups in our society are suffering. So for me – and particularly the residents I am talking to in the market towns, villages and hamlets of the Buckingham constituency – this is also about ensuring we deliver the extra police to keep us safe and tackle rising crime in urban and rural communities head on; getting more money into our NHS so our doctors and nurses have the resources they need to look after us and save lives; levelling up education funding in my home county of Buckinghamshire and country-wide so schools get the fair funding our children deserve; stopping the environmentally destructive and enormously costly projects like HS2 and the Oxford Cambridge Expressway; and providing that all important security for our older generation should they find they need residential care in later life.

Of course the transition period is just the start and until we have left nothing else can move on: the trade deals, new support for our farmers as EU subsidies end, fairer borders that treat everyone wanting to come and bring something to our country equally. None of this can be done until we have certainty.

So I’ll be going out with a simple message. However you voted in the referendum, let’s respect democracy, get Brexit done and get on with the day job. Britain needs it. And Boris Johnson – as our Prime Minister – is the man to deliver it.