The 31st Jan was certainly one of the most important days in British history because we left the European Union.
I believe it represents an exciting new chapter for our nation. We will regain our sovereignty, control over our laws and borders and, over the coming months, we will prepare ourselves to become an independent global trading nation again.
I fully understand that many people fundamentally disagree with this course of action but it is the course this country has always taken: to honour the democratic process and that meant acting on the 2016 referendum result.
My passionate hope now is we join together again as the nations of the United Kingdom to make Brexit the very best success it can be. I am not triumphant about our leaving. I have no desire to ride roughshod or gloat over those who do not agree.
The next step is to be the very best of friends to our neighbours but be clear we want to chart our own course in trade, in laws and in regulation, where necessary and in our interests. Not wanting to be part of the EU does not mean we turn our back on Europe or those EU nationals who live here – that has never been the case. We remain a vital part of the Continent’s security and its future.
Some suggest we will become isolated by our leaving but I strongly believe this is not the case. Vast opportunities in global trade and diplomacy await a country as innovative, rich in human capital and as flexible as ours. It is opposite of isolation.
Challenges will present themselves over the coming years as well as opportunities and it’s right I acknowledge this reality. However, without a joint purpose and faith in ourselves and our country we risk facing challenges we don’t have to. The die is cast. Let’s move on with ambition and confidence.