Important speeches by national politicians were once reproduced verbatim in the papers: for very understandable reasons that is long gone! However Theresa May's speech on our future in Europe is worth a look. Tone matters. What she emphasised was how the UK will fight hard to get a resolution to our European destiny that works for us but that we remain totally committed to supporting our European partners. It is a global vision of Britain taking up an ambitious outward-looking place in the world, trading freely but not turning our back on our continent. Clear objectives for the negotiation have been set out. An early priority will be ensuring that EU citizens living here are reconfirmed as having a full ongoing right to a stay (and UK citizens in the EU). Future decisions on immigration (and it will remain firmly in our interest to continue to recruit the brightest and best) will be determined here. UK Law will be subject to interpretation by British courts – not the European Court of Justice. We will be free to secure trade agreements with not only old friends such as Australia and the United States but “emerging markets” which are enjoying rates of economic growth about which we in Europe can only dream.
It is a compelling vision. This process of getting there will not be plain sailing – but it is an exciting opportunity and it will be in both parties interests to get it right and to do so swiftly.
On a local level while I have received national “campaign” emails about Accident and Emergency provision across the country I have received nothing but praise from constituents about their experience in A&E locally. An impression reinforced by recent visits I have made. East Surrey A&E like everywhere else this winter is under pressure but is outperforming the national average and, from what I have heard from constituents, doing a good job looking after patients. We are all enormously grateful for the professionalism and dedication of all the staff. I regularly receive comments on all areas of NHS provision and the ambulance service and am always keen to hear about individual experiences.