Super Saturday could have been the day MPs finally implemented the referendum result, opening the door to a bright new future for our country. Instead, it was another damp squib in a series of many for this zombie parliament. This is so frustrating as we are primed to unleash opportunity for every corner of our country and open up a new trade drive on the world stage.
Against the odds, the Prime Minister has secured a great new deal with Brussels that will allow us to make a success of leaving the European Union without any further pointless delays on 31 October. It gives us control over our domestic economic agenda, the freedom for the whole UK to forge new relationships with the rest of the world and provides scope for a sensible future relationship with the EU.
But those who wish to thwart Brexit wilfully refuse to countenance what opportunities there might be for Britain if they were to vote for this deal.
Britain is the ideas factory of the world and has huge potential to benefit from the next technological revolution. Our future lies in being a high skilled, high innovation, free enterprise nation. We have the lowest unemployment since the early 1970s. We are attracting more tech investment than France and Germany put together. We are third in the world for billion dollar tech companies after the US and China.
With the Prime Minister's deal we will have control over our own rules and regulations meaning that industries like tech and financial services will be able to grow faster. Our food produced in an environmentally sustainable way with high welfare standards will grow in popularity with more countries able to buy it. From Brompton bikes in Australia to Bentleys in the US - the world wants what Britain has to sell.
The biggest opportunities from Brexit will come from more trade with the rest of the world. No less than 90 per cent of global growth comes from outside the EU. My ambition is to cover 80 per cent of the UK's current trade with Free Trade Agreements over the next three years that will bring down barriers and tariffs. These free trade deals will not only bring clear economic benefits which are reflected in the analysis - they will also protect us against arbitrary tariffs and rising protectionism which regrettably we see around the world. We will be able to act in a flexible way to lower tariff barriers and protect British interests.
As Trade Secretary I see the world is waiting. The Australians, the Americans, the Kiwis, the Japanese – they all want us to get Brexit done so that we can begin negotiations and forge new relationships that will open up new markets for British businesses, create jobs and attract new investment.
And it’s not just our friends across the world who want us to vote for this deal and move on. Our friends across the channel have also indicated a desire for a strong trade agreement and there is plenty of time to secure an EU FTA by the end of 2020 if we leave with this deal on 31st October without further pointless delay. After all, ambitious and comprehensive agreements are being negotiated around the world in quick time. Look at the Australians - they frequently complete trade deals within months.
But it’s not just trade deals that can be done. The global trading system is in a huge state of flux where we are seeing momentous debates around tariffs and increased protectionism play out. The UK should have an independent voice in these discussions, not only to make the case for British businesses who are currently being hit by unnecessary tariffs such as Scotch whisky, but also to prevent potential incoming tariffs on other sectors such as the British car industry.
When we leave the EU, I am looking forward to taking up our independent seat at the WTO and backing the rules based system. Lowering trade barriers and enforcing global rules particularly helps smaller developing countries and is vital to future peace and prosperity.
The world is waiting. The European Union is waiting. Britain is waiting. British businesses have been stuck in limbo, valiantly trying to continue with business as usual while uncertainty hangs over their heads. This new deal will provide certainty and allow businesses to begin to plan for the future.
But the opposition benches want to prolong this uncertainty. They want to put membership of the customs union back into the deal, which would take us back to square one and render the UK unable to strike our own bilateral trade agreements around the world. And they want a second referendum, which, not only betrays the vote of 2016, but also guarantees that we will be stuck in this Brexit quagmire for months, if not years longer.
This week, we have another crucial opportunity to end this uncertainty and take the UK out of the EU with deal. And think of where we could be in December 2020 if we do? Free trade deals negotiated with the EU and other partners that ensure our future as a high-skilled, innovative, free enterprise economy, excelling in tech, data and services and selling our high-quality food around the world.
Parliament - it's time to stop the delaying tactics, the games, the excuses. End the waiting. Move forward to the future. Back the deal.