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[2nd day]

Part of European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill – in the House of Commons at 3:38 pm on 1st February 2017.

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Photo of Amanda Solloway Amanda Solloway Conservative, Derby North 3:38 pm, 1st February 2017

It is a great honour to speak in this historic debate. On 23 June we saw 52% of the United Kingdom, and 57% of Derby, vote for the UK to leave the European Union. In Derby, voter turnout was 70%, almost double that for our local elections, with 18,000 more people voting to leave than to remain.

I deliberated for a long time over my decision, and I spent time listening to both sides of the argument. I could see strong reasons to leave and to remain. I started veering towards leave, but I finally decided that remain, in my opinion, would be best for the country. I campaigned hard for us to stay in the EU.

While I was out campaigning, people came to me with clear messages. They said that they wanted to clamp down on immigration and how this was an opportunity to stand on our own and make our own decisions. On the other side, there was uncertainty about the country’s future outside the EU and about the long-term implications and potential consequences. The decision will shape this country for generations, and it is one that we must respect. We must ensure that it becomes a reality, and we must look forward so that future generations benefit from this opportunity. It is now the time to look for the opportunities Brexit can bring to our country. Of course that will be challenging, but the Government are already working hard to create new avenues of trade and investment with new friends and partners, inside and outside Europe. Since the referendum, I have been talking to a wide range of people and businesses in my constituency, and they tell me they are now looking forward to the opportunity that Brexit brings. There is a feeling of optimism about ensuring that small, medium-sized and large businesses thrive after we leave, while of course there is an acknowledgement of the complexity of the negotiations.