Today’s the day that the phony period between the referendum result and the reality of the negotiations comes to an end.
The focus now must be getting the best deal for Britons whether people voted leave or remain in last year’s referendum.
We now have two years, possibly longer, which will have huge implications for our economy, trading relations and possibly our constitutional relationships within the UK.
The Government has set its goal as maintaining ‘the exact same benefits’ in terms of trade as we currently have whilst pulling out of the single market and customs union, ending free movement and not paying into the EU.
All of us whether we voted leave or remain will now have to see if that test is met. I want a deal that is best for jobs, trade and investment.
There is also the issue of common security and democratic values. The UK plays an important defence and security role and it’s very important that we continue to work with our allies to defend democracy and fight terrorism, whatever happens with Brexit.
This is particularly true when we see terrorist attacks across Europe including in London last week and when we are seeing Russian aggression and a questioning of some of our collective security institutions from the Trump administration in the United States.
We have to stand strong together against some of the problems we face.