RISHI SUNAK: In 2021 we won't be Remainers or Leavers

RISHI SUNAK: In 2021 we won’t be Remainers or Leavers – only believers in Britain

This has been a tough year for everyone in this country. We all know businesses which have had to close or friends who have lost their jobs. We all have loved ones we’ve not been able to see, and just two days ago we all celebrated a Christmas sadly unlike any other.

There will be tough days and months ahead, but there are reasons to look ahead to a brighter future and what 2021 promises. The early roll-out of vaccines – and the incredible work of our scientists and NHS – means we can now see light at the end of the tunnel with this pandemic.

The free-trade deal the Prime Minister has negotiated with the EU means we can, after four years of debate and dither, move on from Brexit and toward a future in which we can now take the right long-term decisions for our country.

I campaigned to leave the EU, and I was always clear that leaving on World Trade Organisation terms would be necessary if we couldn’t secure an agreement which respected the fundamental principle of the United Kingdom’s sovereignty. But leaving with a deal is better for us and better for our friends across the Channel.

This is the largest free trade agreement in history, covering trade that was worth £668 billion in 2019. It’s the first free trade agreement the EU has struck based on zero tariffs and zero quotas – meaning our businesses can export easily and we keep prices down in our shops.

This has been a tough year for everyone in this country. We all know businesses which have had to close or friends who have lost their jobs

At a time when our number one priority has been protecting jobs, when we’ve taken the unprecedented step of paying people’s wages through the furlough scheme, this deal will also help keep people in work.

And this is a deal which works for all nations of our Union – for Welsh farmers, for Scottish distilleries, Northern Irish fishermen and English cheesemakers.

Most importantly, this deal delivers on the instruction of the British people from the 2016 referendum and the General Election last year. We will take back control of our money, borders, laws, trade and our fishing waters.

We will have full flexibility to implement our points-based immigration system to welcome in talented people from all around the world as free movement ends.

But I don’t want 2021 to just be the year we delivered on promises made in 2016. I want next year to be the start of something much more meaningful for all of us. A moment to look afresh at the world and the opportunities it presents, and to consider how to take advantage of them.

In 2021 we won’t be Remainers or Leavers – only believers in Britain. We will benefit from our new-found freedom and autonomy outside of the EU, as we rebuild our economy and recover from Covid.

Next year is the first in a new era of global Britain and all it has to offer. We will strike trade deals with new markets, reasserting ourselves as a liberal and free trading nation; and acting with a strong moral anchor, as a force for good in the world. And we will invest in our country to build opportunity for everyone. Whether it be new roads or rail connecting our towns and cities, leading the world in creating green jobs, or rewarding risk-takers and entrepreneurs who want to invest in the new freeports we will open next year, this is a new start for us all.

This deal has got Brexit done. Now let’s move on together.

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