In normal circumstances I would be writing about the Chancellor’s Spring Statement being delivered this week.
The Government was elected in 2010 on a mission to rescue our national finances.
That was for the country an appallingly difficult task. We have however succeeded – the national finances have been turned around and this transformation has been achieved while maintaining economic growth and reducing unemployment to historic lows.
That success cannot be taken for granted. However I had hoped that as well as reducing the national debt and maintaining the ongoing massive expansion of spending on the NHS more funds could now be afforded for increased investment on other important priorities.
Unfortunately the full benefit of our economic turnaround in the form of both public and private investment is unlikely to be able to be realised until parliament gives clarity on our departure from the European Union.
The time really has come to do just that. I am certain the vast majority of the country want Parliament to settle this and be able to spend as much time as it has obsessing on Europe focussing on schools, the police and the NHS.
I was happy to support the PM’s deal first time round. This week has produced further legally binding protections for the UK and further guarantees that the EU will work with us to deliver alternative technological solutions to the ‘Irish Backstop’.
The UK has many advantages: from our strengths as one of the largest economies in the world to our extraordinary global impact in education and science.
We need to believe in ourselves, take the deal that has been painstakingly negotiated and take that gateway into a new relationship with the EU and the world.
I am enormously frustrated that instead of taking the sensible step that delivers Brexit on time and in a way that maximises our economic and security protections, this deal has been rejected.
It was voted down both by those who want a ‘no deal’ Brexit (which for all its merits or demerits has already been voted down by the Commons) and also by those who want no Brexit at all.
The country wants a sensible solution and to move on, Parliament needs to deliver.