Today marked the fifth anniversary of the historic referendum vote on the UK’s membership of the European Union, in which Lincolnshire returned one of the country’s largest majorities in support of Leaving the bloc. I was, and am, extremely proud of the role I played in delivering this emphatic result in our region.
However the road between then and now has been far from straightforward – as my colleague Craig Mackinlay MP rather neatly put it, “it took a further four-and-a-half years for the result to be properly delivered, across two further General Elections and PMs along the way. We saw Parliamentary and legal shenanigans and cul-de-sacs that went on and on”. But we have now arrived at our destination and it is worth taking stock of what we have achieved.
We have reclaimed our money, laws, borders, and waters; we have installed a new points-based system for immigration; delivered the fastest vaccine roll-out anywhere in Europe; negotiated trade deals with the EU and 68 other countries – including our first post-Brexit free trade agreement with Australia – and we’ve just begun negotiations to join the $9 trillion Pacific trade area.
Now as we recover from this pandemic, we will seize the true potential of our regained sovereignty to unite and level up our whole United Kingdom. With control over our regulations and subsidies, and with freeports driving new investment, we will spur innovation, jobs, and renewal across every part of our country.
Before leaving you to read on, please can I take this opportunity to remind you that the deadline for applications to be made to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) is June 30th. All EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens and their family members who were resident in the UK by December 31st, 2020, need to make an application at www.gov.uk/eusettlementscheme so that they can continue to work, study, and access benefits and free healthcare in the UK after 30th June 2021.
Support is available seven days a week. If you, or anyone you know, needs help with making an application to EUSS a range of support is available including over-the-phone advice to more tailored one-to-one support: Get help applying to the EU Settlement Scheme.