European Union (Future Relationship) Bill: Lord Waverley

Lord Waverley

My Lords, many still argue the UK is not in step with the world order of regionalism and question whether the people were right to make the call they did. Those points of principle have now had their day. Uncertainty has been removed, and I join others in believing that this agreement appears positive. I am equally relieved that many of those who have been vehement remainers throughout appear to be in support as well. This should serve as a reminder to European parliamentarians when they consider ratification.

There is no time for complacency. While being an optimist, I sense the sword of Damocles hanging over us to ensure that in certain quarters we do not step out of line. However, with pragmatism, flexibility, nimbleness, and strategy in abundance, we can and will be match-fit for tomorrow’s world. We have arrived at a new chapter to build back better, to be inclusive in arriving at solutions to challenges and to take stock with fresh eyes. The voices of business, unions, consumers, academics, NGOs and civil society from regions up and down the nation should be at the heart of the national debate. Now is the time to cast divisions aside and work together for the common good. Hard work lies ahead to ensure that Brexit happens happily. When opportunities present, we must ensure that a great equalling of the regions within our kingdom of nations is paramount.

There have been, and will be, winners and losers. The fishing and financial services industries are expressing concern, but taken on balance, given that the Europeans were always, understandably, going to defend their interest to the hilt, the Government have delivered on the mandate of the people and negotiated the possible within the agreed timelines. All sides should now see the advantages of bridge-building and strengthening co-operation for mutual advantage. The real work begins now. Now is the time to forge and deepen relationships and maximise the synergies between political interest and supporting international development, business and international investment. Now is the time to invoke the British spirit to secure a bright future for our country.