In My View - 8th September 2016

Economic performance since the nation's vote to leave the European Union has been positive, with strong data reported in the UK's consumer, manufacturing and service sectors. Interest rates have fallen, housing remains buoyant, and domestic suppliers have benefited from products being more competitive in Sterling terms.

Politics has also been more stable than some feared. I am glad new Prime Minister Theresa May was able to put her administration in place over the summer. In particular it is reassuring to see that departments which will support her in the process of leaving the European Union and opening our trade to the whole world have had these last months to prepare the new team's programme.

It is right that the Government should be preparing properly, even as it is keen, in our interests and those of our European friends and allies, to get on with the process of leaving and implementing beneficial new arrangements.

This week David Davis, the Secretary of State for the new department for exiting the EU, outlined the Government's intent to implement a new structure of free trade without automatic right of further free movement of people from the EU, but respecting the rights of EU and UK citizens already living in different places.

It has been heartening to see various parts of the Conservative family and others, whichever arguments they had made earlier in the year, pull together in determination to honour the people's democratic decision which was entrusted to them by overwhelming vote of Parliament for the EU Referendum legislation.

This stability, preparation and determination contrasts with ongoing uncertainty and bitterness in some political parties.

It is a sorry sight for certain local personalities who should know better, after talking moderation, unity and democracy, in fact to be promoting division and denial, and unreasonably demonising those who made rational arguments for "Leave".

The House of Commons is now back but only for two weeks before the Party Conferences. With a new Government team in place it’s a busy time as MPs seek to make new cases, build relationships and revisit existing plans. I will be meeting with new Defence Procurement Minister Harriett Baldwin to talk about promoting Leonardo Helicopter sales overseas and a new unmanned aircraft project.

I’ve already seen new Communities and Local Government Secretary, Sajid Javid, to continue my campaign for lower business rates as well as a fairer funding model for rural areas. Sajid has a busy job as he also covers devolution, housing and planning as well as some infrastructure so he’ll be seeing a lot of me over the coming months as these are key areas for the South West. I have also had a meeting with MPs representing the Department of Work and Pensions to talk about the feasibility of introducing some flexibility in state pension provision to help people unprepared for the rise in pension age. I look forward to reporting back on these and other issues.