Global Britain

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:47 pm on 30th January 2020.

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Photo of Paul Bristow Paul Bristow Conservative, Peterborough 2:47 pm, 30th January 2020

It is an honour to follow the well thought-out speech by Fleur Anderson. It has also been a privilege to be in the Chamber to listen to the maiden speeches by the hon. Members for Streatham (Bell Ribeiro-Addy) and for Aberdeen South (Stephen Flynn), and by my hon. Friends the Members for West Bromwich West (Shaun Bailey) and for Wolverhampton South West (Stuart Anderson).

Speaking in this debate on global Britain the day before we leave the European Union, I feel a sense of pride and relief. I do not mean nationalistic pride, as some suggest was the motivation for those who, like me, campaigned for Britain to leave the European Union. I mean pride that democracy has won and that this Government are delivering on the result of the 2016 referendum.

Having been a candidate in a certain by-election that took place just two weeks after the elections to the European Parliament, I have first-hand experience of how unforgiving the electorate can be on this issue. I also have a sense of relief that Britain can now move on—yes, move on politically, but also move on to reclaim our role as a global free trading nation. However, as many Members have said today, that comes with global responsibilities. I want to highlight three elements: the role that we can now play in strengthening ties with the Commonwealth and how that can deliver for Britain, why the UK should deeply appreciate the contribution of our overseas territories and dependencies and we must never forget their importance for this country, and why being outward-looking and globally ambitious can deliver for my constituency and the rest of the UK.

As a newly elected Member of Parliament, I have joined the all-party parliamentary group for Australia and New Zealand, the British-Canada all-party parliamentary group, the all-party parliamentary group for the Commonwealth, and the CANZUK all-party parliamentary group. CANZUK is an acronym, referring to closer theoretical, political and economic ties between Canada, Australia, New Zealand and, of course, the UK.