Folkestone and Hythe MP accepts referendum result despite campaigning for the UK to remain in the EU

Contributed by editor on Jun 29, 2016 - 06:05 AM


Constituency matters... a weekly column by the Member of Parliament for Folkestone and Hythe, Damian Collins 29 June 2016.


We have to accept that things will be different

The referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union last week was one of the greatest democratic exercises in our history. Over thirty-three million people voted with the result producing a victory for the leave campaign.


I campaigned for a different result, because I believe that staying in the European Union would be better for creating jobs and opportunity in our community, and across the country. However, I accept the result of the referendum.


Second referendum


I would ask everyone who has joined calls for a second referendum, that we must all accept that the decision has been made and we must work together to make the best of the situation. I will do all I can to make sure that the settlement that is reached following our exit from the European Union is the best possible deal we can get.

Many people have asked me, ‘what happens now’.


In the next few months, not much will change in terms of our relationship with the European Union. When a new Prime Minister is chosen in the autumn, following the resignation of David Cameron, and a new government is formed, the formal negotiations on our separation from the EU will begin. That does not mean that nothing is being done between now and then.


David Cameron has established a special team within the government, comprising some of the brightest and best civil servants recruited form across Whitehall, to start preparing detailed plans for those negotiations. We would expect that our formal separation from the European Union will be effective by the end of 2018.

Things will be different

We have to accept that things will be different. My expectation is that we will find that some things become harder, but we will also have more freedom and flexibility. We should be thinking creatively now about the things we could do outside of the EU that will compensate from any downsides. I would welcome your ideas on this which I will pass on to the government.



On Monday this week, along with Cllr Roger Wilkins, the Chairman of Dymchurch Parish Council, and Gill Smith, the parish clerk, I met with the Immigration Minister, James Brokenshire MP. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the response from the Home Office to the recent incident when a vessel carrying 20 people, including 18 Albanians and two men from Kent, landed on Dymchurch beach.


This incident is still the subject of court proceedings, but the Minister was able to reassure us on one important point. That is that the vessel had already been noticed as suspicious by the Border Force before it got into trouble and contacted the rescue services.


The vessel would have been greeted by the Border Force and its passengers arrested even if it had not got into difficultly. The Home Office is dedicating more resources to policing the channel, and is also working closely with the French intelligence services to try and identify and stop people from trying to make these journeys.


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