Our Man in West­min­ster

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Points Of View - By Damian Green

Ial­most al­ways write this col­umn about lo­cal rather than na­tional is­sues, but I think the ed­i­tor will ex­cuse me this week for deal­ing with the over­whelm­ingly im­por­tant is­sue of life after the ref­er­en­dum. As I write this, my email in­box is full of mes­sages from con­stituents de­mand­ing that the ref­er­en­dum be re-run. No one worked harder than I did to cam­paign for a Re­main vote, and no one is more dis­ap­pointed and an­gry than me.

But we have to re­spect the demo­crat­i­cally ex­pressed view of the ma­jor­ity, how­ever nar­row the re­sult.

The ref­er­en­dum has re­vealed a pent-up anger in many parts of Bri­tain, and it would be ir­re­spon­si­ble and wrong to en­cour­age it fur­ther by try­ing to sub­vert the over­all di­rec­tion of the vote.

At the end of what will be a long and com­pli­cated process, Bri­tain will have had to leave the EU.

Ob­vi­ously, the de­tails are hugely im­por­tant and the fi­nal re­la­tion­ship can­not yet be de­cided but the peo­ple have spo­ken and must be re­spected.

There are huge im­pli­ca­tions for the fu­ture of the United King­dom, es­pe­cially Scot­land and North­ern Ire­land, but for the present I will just deal with what is im­por­tant lo­cally.

Many Ash­ford busi­nesses de­pend on trade with other Euro­pean coun­tries, and the even­tual set­tle­ment we achieve must do as much as pos­si­ble to pro­tect the po­si­tion of these com­pa­nies and the many jobs that are cre­ated by them.

There are also huge changes to come in the ru­ral ar­eas, with the whole sys­tem of farm sub­sidy and coun­try­side man­age­ment up for dis­cus­sion.

No one has yet be­gun to pro­pose what should hap­pen or whether farm in­comes will be pro­tected, so this in it­self is a huge de­ci­sion for the coun­try to take.

We are at the start of a jour­ney into the un­known.

I wish we were not tak­ing this jour­ney, but I will do my best to pro­tect the in­ter­ests of Ash­ford on the way.

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