22 JUL 2016

Having our border in Calais works for Britain AND France

Our community of Dover and Deal is on the front line. Our history is steeped in the safety and security of the nation. Once again the need for that security has been in the spotlight this week. In the House of Commons I voted to ensure we renew our nuclear deterrent. The Trident system will mean we maintain continuous deterrence at sea. This is a potent reminder to our enemies that there is still a Great in Britain and that we take our security very seriously. The vote for Trident was carried by a huge majority – it was only opposed by the Scots and a few hard left Labour MPs.

The terrorist attack in Nice shocked us all. Once again we stand with France in the face of a horrific atrocity. And stand with France we must. Whether we are inside or outside the European Union. We have a long history of working closely together. The Entente Cordial and deep bonds of amity have tied our two nations together for over a century. We work closely together to tackle terrorism and combat the evil of human trafficking. We have long worked together to keep our borders safe and secure too. The Le Touquet treaty is an important part of those bonds and our shared security. These are points I made to the Home Secretary in the House of Commons this week. The new Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, was swift to make the point that National Security is not the province of the EU and that we will continue to work bilaterally with France for our shared security.

During the EU Referendum campaign there was much concern that France might axe the Le Touquet Treaty. That our border might move back from Calais to Dover. Yet events have shown that this treaty and our close co-operation works for both our countries. This is the case I am making to our French counterparts. In addition I plan to visit the authorities of the Nord Pas de Calais Region to discuss the future and how our partnership with Northern France may be deepened.

The case I will make is that we should not simply keep our border in Calais. We should do more to deepen our trading links too. The economies of Kent and Northern France are closely linked. It's not just about borders and transport. We have much linked industry and commerce. As we leave the EU we should not give up on that. If anything we should have more of it

The future of our relationship with France should not simply be one where we search for security and to keep our border in Calais. We should also be on the front foot seeking out opportunities for more jobs and money where we can share more trade and greater prosperity.


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Charlie Elphicke

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