Ask someone in Dover what they want the Government to do following last year's vote to leave the EU and they will tell you straight. Get on with it.
People want to know why it's all taking so long. They also ask why there's all this talk of transitional arrangements. These are fair questions – why can't be ready on day one in March 2019?
Seeking to answer this I have written a series of articles on how we can be ready on day one for Brexit. Deal or no deal. We need to be ready for no deal. Talks could break down over the EU's excessive demands and we need to be fully prepared if that happens. Here at the Dover & Deal frontline we are the tip of the spear – if we're not ready, ours is the community that will bear the brunt of it.
So what do we need to do to be ready on day one? We need to be ready to manage customs – using electronic filings like VAT there is no reason why there needs to be searches or queues at Dover. We need to keep a positive relationship with France and make sure the border stays in Calais. This matters to the French as much as to us. For if the border gets weaker at Calais, then Calais will become an even bigger magnet for migrants.
We need to be ready on day one to take back control of our borders and end uncontrolled EU immigration. This means we need to invest in our borders and in systems that ensure we know who is coming here and keep out criminals. Moreover we need to use intelligence to help our border officers focus on persons of interest and reduce passport queues for the law abiding majority.
I have also set out a plan to solve the tricky Irish question and how we can make the most of our new freedom to trade around the world on terms that work for Britain.
Finally, out of the EU we can do so much more to stop the disgraceful tax dodging by big international businesses – and we can build a renaissance of the regions. A renaissance built on Coastal Enterprise Zones which are treated as outside the UK for customs purposes. And a renaissance built on the return of duty free. Everyone loved the booze cruise – and it was great for Dover. Out of the EU we can bring it back and bring a new boost to our area.
Brexit means Brexit and we need to get on with it. We could and should be ready on day one. That way we can end uncontrolled immigration sooner, increase trade around the world, bring back duty free and take forward a renaissance of the regions that will benefit places like Dover and Deal.
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