Our Man in Westminster
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.