Brexit deal in best in­ter­ests of lo­cal econ­omy

Solihull News - - JULIAN KNIGHT -

AS many of you will know, we are cur­rently in the mid­dle of a hugely im­por­tant de­bate in Par­lia­ment, where MPs are spend­ing five days dis­cussing the Gov­ern­ment’s pro­posed With­drawal Agree­ment.

Like any com­pro­mise, there are el­e­ments of it which are dif­fi­cult to swal­low.

I am es­pe­cially con­cerned about the so- called ‘ back­stop’, and whether or not the United King­dom would be able to choose to leave it in the fu­ture.

How­ever Soli­hull is an ex­port­ing town, home not only to ma­jor British brands such as Jaguar Land Rover but a wide range of man­u­fac­tur­ers and ser­vice providers who rely on smooth trade with the Euro­pean Union to main­tain sup­ply lines and reach their cus­tomers. I there­fore be­lieve that it is my duty to sup­port the deal, which bal­ances the need to re­spect the re­sult of the ref­er­en­dum with the best in­ter­ests of our lo­cal econ­omy and em­ploy­ers, and will cast my vote with the Gov­ern­ment on Tues­day. As a mem­ber of the House of Com­mons’ Dig­i­tal, Cul­ture, Me­dia, and Sport Se­lect Com­mit­tee, I have also had the op­por­tu­nity to play an ac­tive role in Par­lia­ment’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion into ‘ fake news’. In the course of our in­quiry I made in­ter­na­tional head­lines when I chal­lenged Mike Shroepfer, Face­book’s Chief Tech­ni­cal Of­fi­cer, that his com­pany had cre­ated a “moral­ity- free zone” which was al­low­ing un­scrupu­lous com­pa­nies to ex­ploit the per­sonal in­for­ma­tion of mil­lions of peo­ple.

There­fore I was very proud last week to take part in the next big step to­wards a ro­bust, ef­fec­tive sys­tem for pro­tect­ing data and web users: the first meet­ing of the In­ter­na­tional Grand Com­mit­tee ( IGC) on Dis­in­for­ma­tion and ‘ Fake News’. Bring­ing to­gether 24 leg­is­la­tors from nine coun­tries – Ar­gentina, Bel­gium, Brazil, Canada, France, Ire­land, Latvia, Sin­ga­pore, and the UK – the pur­pose of the IGC was to dis­cuss our how coun­tries can co­op­er­ate more ef­fec­tively in the face of com­pa­nies, apps, and web­sites which tran­scend tra­di­tional bor­ders. Sadly Mark Zucker­berg ( in­set), the CEO of Face­book, re­fused to come and give ev­i­dence. But whilst he might avoid tough ques­tions in the room, nei­ther he nor the other web gi­ants will be al­lowed to stick their heads in the sand and ig­nore the need for re­form.

That’s why we con­cluded our in­ves­ti­ga­tion by sign­ing the ‘ In­ter­na­tional Prin­ci­ples for the Law Gov­ern­ing the In­ter­net’, which I hope will lay the foun­da­tions for the sys­tems we need to hold these com­pa­nies to ac­count.

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