19 JAN 2017

In Brexit Britain places like Dover & Deal must come first

For Brexit Britain to work we need the investment concentrated for so many years in the capital – London – to benefit the districts like Dover and Deal.

The capital has for too long acted as a selfish city, furthering its own aims at the expense of districts like ours. It's not right for things to carry on like this. After all, the Hunger Games is just a film – not a reality.

So I was glad last week when the Transport Secretary refused to let Sadiq Khan get his hands on our trains. We need railways where our local needs are put before those of wealthy Londoners.

Southeastern doesn't run a perfect service – but look across to neighbouring areas served by Southern Rail and you'll see things could be a lot worse.

When I was elected in 2010, I was passionate High Speed rail should be extended. Soon fast trains were running to and from Deal as a peak commuting service, cutting journey times to London by half an hour.

The next step was an all-day service. After my long campaign Transport Ministers announced we would get it from January 2015. This boosted our local economy and made commuting much easier.

This is so important. Brexit Britain must be a nation that works for the local towns and historic regions rather than just the big cities. A Britain that works for the coastal communities as well as the post-industrial heartlands.

That's why it was such good news last week that Dover Priory train station will have a brand new car park.

Things also look promising on the Western Heights. At a meeting with Prisons Minister Sam Gyimah and Dover District Council, we looked at future options for the former Immigration Removal Centre. It could be turned into a luxury hotel or a quality housing development.

The citadel fortress played an important part in keeping Dover and our nation safe and secure. Now it could be the engine to drive the renewal of the Western Heights.

For too long London has grown and grown – not just in size but in wealth and opportunities. The Leave vote was so much higher outside the capital because people seek to change a system they feel doesn't work for them.

That's why we must build a Brexit Britain where you can succeed in the districts without being forced to move to the capital.

As we leave the European Union, Dover and Deal must become Britain's leading trading hub. I'm doing everything I can to ensure we are prepared for the challenges and opportunities ahead.

And that means fighting to make Brexit Britain work for Dover, Deal and East Kent.


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Charlie Elphicke

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