Statement on Article 50

I am hugely encouraged that, 9 months and 6 days after the British people spoke loud and clear in the EU referendum, Theresa May has today finally triggered Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and we now begin the formal process of withdrawal from the European Union. This move has the overwhelming support of the British people: in a recent YouGov poll, just 21% said that the referendum result should be ignored or overturned.

I call on Theresa May and the British government to now deliver a deal which will secure the future of the United Kingdom as a vibrant, independent, global trading nation. We must regain our own sovereignty, stop payments to the EU budget, regain the power to fully control our immigration system, and most importantly of all regain the right to make trade deals in our own right once more.
Our destiny will be in our own hands once more. Never again will politicians be able to hide behind our EU membership and tell us that they lack the power to deliver for the British people. Here in the North East we are a trading region. We want the right deal with the European Union, one which enables us to trade with them freely and without tariffs. But we also want to open up new markets, new trade opportunities by developing our trading links across the world. Napoleon once called us a ‘nation of shopkeepers’; today we declare that we are once again open for business.
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