A little over three years ago during the referendum campaign on our membership of the European Union, Boris Johnson paid a visit to our company. During his visit he showed a real and genuine interest in our company, our people, our history and what we have achieved since we started 100 years ago in 1919. He was particularly interested in understanding how a medium-sized business like ours managed to design, manufacture and construct all types of steel structures throughout the UK and across the world (140 countries to date and four times winners of the Queen’s Award for International Trade). We explained to Boris the challenges we faced, not just as a business but as an industry that had received little or no support from government and largely as a result of being chained to the EU. We told him of the barriers that are put in place that make it difficult to trade in the EU and how it is impossible for us to work in France because we are not a French company. We told him how French domestic law had prevented us being considered for UK Government-funded work in France too. Protectionism is rife throughout the EU and, coupled with the uneven playing field, businesses like ours (not a multi-national), which are embedded within our local community and pay our taxes, are penalised. On top of this we explained how difficulties with bad EU directives and EU regulations have held us back and done much to damage UK businesses. Take the CE mark as just one example. Designed to harmonise a standard within the protectionist bloc, it does little more than facilitate access into our domestic market for others who do not apply the rules like we do. It places a burden on business that makes it almost impossible for start-ups and inhibits diversity. The CE mark does not mean that something is safe, nor is it a mark of quality; but it is one of many ill-thought-out ideas from Brussels that allows unfair competition within our own market. Not only have the tentacles of EU Directives and Regulations strangled British businesses domestically, they have damaged our competitiveness in the world market as the cost burden of bad Directives and Regulations cannot be switched off when we are manufacturing an order for Mongolia rather than Manchester. This makes it much harder when our competitors – countries outside the EU – do not have to operate under the same rules. British Steel is just the latest example of UK industry to have suffered as a result of our membership of the EU. It has been adversely affected by the impact of the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme and enormous energy costs in comparison to other countries (state aid is supplied by alternative arrangements) within the bloc, which have helped create an unfair playing field. We cannot let British Steel die, just as we have seen other core industries disappear from the UK since joining the EEC in 1973. This has got progressively worse over the past few decades and much of this exodus has been helped by EU grants and or support. Hampered further by unfair competition, protectionism and no ability to regulate and revive British Standards, working people have been left to watch their highly skilled jobs be exported to other areas of Europe and beyond. When Boris was here he understood clearly the issues we faced. When I hear the Remain-led attacks on Boris and his unsuitability to be our next Prime Minister, I could not disagree more. It is Project Fear all over again, with attempts to discredit him aimed at thwarting a real Brexit from the EU. Boris was dynamic, charismatic and charming as you would expect him to be, but he is also a very intelligent individual. At the speech he gave to a factory full of workers and business colleagues, he got every single one of them engaged. He not only connected with those who do not normally fall within the ‘Conservative’ brand, he enthused them and gave great hope that at last someone was backing them. I would very much welcome Boris back for a return visit to our company either now or hopefully, in the not too distant future, as our next Prime Minister. Those who are voting for our country’s next leader must believe in Britain. With a proper Brexit under Boris, we can look forward to a brighter future. This means greater certainty for business, the revitalisation of British Standards and restoration of the UK on the world stage with all the trading opportunities this affords. The Labour Party are finished under their current leadership. Although there are several staunch Labour Brexiteers with courage and principle, most Labour MPs work directly against the expressed wishes of their voters. At least the Lib Dems are clear about what they have to offer, i.e. surrender. Theresa May’s so-called ‘deal’ was not any sort of deal, just a surrender to the demands of our bosses in Brussels. The deal is dead. There must be unequivocal support for Leaving, on the stated date of October 31st. Only Boris is prepared to vow to achieve this. Only two viable options now exist: either Boris as our new Prime Minister with a team of believers to support and help him lead this fantastic and open country; or else people like me and all those that need hope will have no hesitation in the alternative: to throw our full support behind the Brexit Party.