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Global Britain

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:16 pm on 30th January 2020.

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Photo of Steve Double Steve Double Conservative, St Austell and Newquay 3:16 pm, 30th January 2020

I am very grateful for that intervention, and I wholeheartedly agree with my hon. Friend. One of my hopes is that as we leave the European Union, we can perhaps turn some of our focus more starkly to our overseas territories, which, perhaps in recent years, have felt a little ignored. Leaving the European Union gives us the opportunity to strengthen our relationship with our overseas territories and make more of them, because we will be free from the shackles of the European Union. I absolutely agree with what he says.

It is absolutely vital that this House does now adopt an optimistic and positive vision for our country as we leave the European Union. I have found that since the general election every business I have spoken to now has a much more optimistic and positive view of what we can achieve as a nation as we leave the European Union, and we in this House need to adopt that same attitude.

Leaving the EU presents us with a number of opportunities. We have heard a lot already in this debate, including from the Secretary of State, about the opportunities for free trade and the opportunities that having our own independent trade policy will bring. There is the opportunity for us to have our own immigration policy. I believe that we can have a fairer, more compassionate, more effective and better immigration policy that works for our country and is not tied into the discrimination that the EU policy of free movement has forced on us

As someone who represents a constituency that has a number of fishing communities, I believe that leaving the common fisheries policy will present a great opportunity for us to revive our fishing industry and make sure that it gets a fairer share of the quota. Overall, I like to think that as we leave the European Union we have starkly contrasting choices of what our country could be like: it is the difference between being an oil tanker as part of the European Union, or a speedboat as an independent country outside the EU. No longer will we be tied to 27 other nations and need their agreement before we can do anything. We can be much more flexible, and much quicker to respond to global events and to demands that the world places upon us. That, for me, is in a nutshell how I see the opportunity of our leaving the European Union. We can be much more responsive and much more flexible in today’s ever-changing world.

I am sure that Members of the House would be surprised if I were to speak on this subject without specifically referring to Cornwall. I absolutely believe that Cornwall can play a significant role in ensuring that we deliver on the vision of a truly global Britain outside the EU, but that is not new. Throughout its history, Cornwall has played a significant part in delivering on global Britain. Today many people see Cornwall as a place for holidays, ice creams, pasties and perhaps fishing, but our history is about our being a major contributor to Britain’s global standing.

First of all, Cornwall has not only excelled at mining but has exported around the world. We have contributed our Cornish expertise and ingenuity to many places, particularly to many Commonwealth countries, and to North and South America. In Cornwall we define a mine as a hole in the ground anywhere in the world with a Cornishman at the bottom of it, because so many left after the decline of the tin mining industry that they formed a diaspora around the world.

There is good news, however, because Cornwall has an opportunity to become a global player in the extraction of precious metals once again.