Today there are clearly several matters taking place that will impact all of us immediately or within the next few months. The changes to the COVID-19 guidance are very clear and based on the announcement from the Government last week. All Councils are now under pressure to ensure that any gatherings are restricted and yet it appears that they will not obtain funding for the cost of monitoring these elements. Let us hope that all of us as Sussex residents can adopt these new regulations as reliably as possible. However given that our coastal and rural settings are still very appealing for people to visit as Autumn begins, we also need all of our visitors to follow these terms from today. It was evident over the last few weeks that there were significant numbers of social groups of more than six people arriving on our beaches and in our countryside locations. Such activities must now be limited to six people. Along with these new arrangements that are taking place from today across the nation, there are also discussions beginning in Parliament today that will have a much longer impact on our nation than COVID-19, once a vaccine has been found. A fortnight ago I called for our Sussex MPs to work together this month to ensure that by the beginning of October there would be a meaningful free trade deal with the EU that could start next year. This was because of the lack of work by the Government since the agreement they made with the EU at the end of January. This agreement followed on from the Withdrawal Agreement Bill which was voted for on 9th January and approved by the Queen on 23rd January. It now appears that the Government, led by Johnson and Gove who are being directed by Cummings are planning to break the arrangements that Parliament made on behalf of our nation in January. They are now asking the members of their party to vote for the Internal Market Bill which will in effect drive a coach and horses through the Withdrawal Agreement and break International Laws. Yet our Government claimed in their manifesto “Getting Brexit done will allow us to do more on the international stage. We will continue to be an outward-looking country that is a champion of collective security, the rule of law, human rights, free trade, anti-corruption efforts and a rules-based international system.”
Along with the breakdown of relations with the EU, the US Congress has made it clear that we will be unable to get a Trade Deal with them if we break the International Laws. So now all of our Sussex MPs who should be calling for a strong trade deal with our EU neighbours, are being forced to discuss a new proposed piece of legislation that is in resistance to what they voted for nine months ago. Many of us and some of our MPs were opposed to the Withdrawal Agreement, prior to its approval and the deal established with the EU. However once that agreement was made, unless there is a chance to revisit the Brexit arrangement, it became the only credible way forward. So on the same day that many of us are being called by the Prime Minister to change our behaviour due to COVID-19, he is now calling for Parliament to ignore all of the rules and regulations that they set out for our nation just over eight months ago. One of the Sussex MPs who spoke on the 9th January was Gillian Keegan. She stated “Opportunity awaits the UK, and only by passing this legislation can we get there.” And “I look forward to supporting the Government and colleagues across the House to make Brexit both a reality and an opportunity.” It is clear that unless we can reverse the Brexit decision that MPs like Gillian Keegan must refuse to support the Internal Market Bill as it will remove the opportunity for Brexit to retain its credible trading terms with the EU and the USA. On the same day Huw Merriman, Bexhill and Battle MP spoke, telling one of the Brexit Ministers “On 30th January, I shall be holding a public meeting to explain the terms of the withdrawal agreement.” And the Minister said “I look forward to an invite to my hon. Friend’s event”. Since the 31st January the Brexit Department was abolished because the terms of our departure had been set out in legislative terms. It is clear that with just over 12 weeks before our departure, without a Brexit Department and with plans to break International Law, reverse British legislation, ignoring the prospect for trade deals with the EU and US will damage our nation and all of our MPs must stand up for our needs, not for Cummings ambitions!