Parliament is engaged in debate regarding the UK Internal Markets Bill. This Bill will ensure that all parts of the UK can trade with each other without falling foul of any tariffs or additional bureaucracy imposed by the EU if we fail to agree a Free Trade Agreement by 1st January.
It is entirely sensible to prepare for this eventuality although there is no real belief in Parliament that a Free Trade Agreement won’t be reached in time. We are used to the bluff, posturing and last minute concessions by now!
People are concerned that this Bill puts us on the wrong side of international law (the treaty we signed up to with the EU in January). Breaching this is a last resort but most MPs, including myself, work, first and foremost, to protect the sovereignty and national interests of the UK.
We face a conundrum because abiding by international law gives Great Britain moral authority to lead in international development, the global response to climate change, soft power with Russia or China for example and fair play in trade. Furthermore, the Brexit result was partly secured because international law that gives us control of access to UK waters is essential for UK fishing. I’m not about to willingly compromise this prize!
This week I have also been occupied by ensuring mixed use housing developments work for everyone concerned. Mixed use housing includes people who own their home, share ownership with a social landlord or rent their home from the social landlord and is an important model for housing delivery in Cornwall.
The week started with a meeting with the CEO and senior staff of GLL who operate St Ives and Helston Leisure Centres. Our efforts continue to open up these facilities and Cornwall Council have been challenged this week to play their full part in this.
On Monday evening I picked up the baton again to fight for improved access to dentistry. Cherilyn Mackrory MP and I met with five Cornish dentists and Tessa Fielding, the NHS lead in the Southwest, to continue the work that had been paused in March.
Another fascinating meeting was with the organisations Hope for the Future and The Commitment which are collaborating to improve relations between everyone (including MPs) who care about our natural environment and recognise that we must work together if we have any hope of effective decarbonisation. You can sign up to The Commitment at https://www.thecommitment.uk/ and my pledge is that I will work with you constructively and with vigour!
Finally, I want to bring your attention to the Housing White Paper and the consultation that accompanies it. I met with CPRE, now The Countryside Charity, to join forces to ensure this legislation helps us meet the housing need whilst ensuring harmony with our natural environment. The two areas I’ll be focused on and working with this charity and others is ensuring new homes can be safeguarded for local people and that we bring forward the target for carbon neutral homes.