10th July 2018
Henry said that he broadly supported the Prime Minister’s recent declaration on Brexit, commenting on it Henry stated: “Whilst it is highly regrettable the David Davis and Boris Johnson resigned, nevertheless, they are both men of honour and principle and felt they could not go along with a proposal which they could not put their hearts into. I fully understand this reaction because the deal put forward is far from ideal, and it goes further than many of us had hoped as far as the commitment to retain equivalence with the European Union on all standards for manufactured and agri-goods. As the Prime Minister herself admitted this will adversely impact our ability to sign independent trade treaties with third countries. However, it is most encouraging that the Secretary of State for International Trade, Liam Fox, has supported the Government and has made it clear that he believes the United Kingdom will still be able to deliver an independent trade policy. As he recently said “The UK will have its own its own seat at the WTO, be able to set tariffs to for our trade with the rest of the world, and have the ability to secure trade deals with other countries and possibly achieving accession to the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
"You’ll not be surprised to hear that I am far from happy that the CJEU will be involved in resolving future disputes; although the Prime Minister has assured us that our own courts will have primacy."
“Obviously I can quite understand why many people are voicing their grave concerns about the package however, as a pragmatist and realist I have asked the following three questions. First of all, would an agreement that did not contain these concessions have any chance of getting through our Parliament? The answer is a categorical no. Secondly is there any prospect whatsoever of the EU accepting more robust terms? The answer here is a categorical no as well. Thirdly, was there any other way of sorting out the Irish border question without imposing a hard border and putting at risk the future and integrity of the United Kingdom. The answer here is another no.”
“This is why I feel it is absolutely essential that we now get behind the Prime Minister and support her 100% as she take the agreement to Brussels and different European Heads of State and Government. Whilst it is highly regrettable her two senior ministers have stood down, in some ways this might strengthen her hand with the EU, because it is now obvious that the Prime Minister is not going to be able to make any further concessions.”
Henry went on to say:“I was also pleased and relieved the Prime Minister has also stated very clearly that first of all, she is not going to make any further concessions; and that she is also instructing her Cabinet to put in place the necessary contingencies for a no deal outcome. I can assure you I understand your concerns and feelings but we will be leaving the EU on 29.03.19 its Single Market and Customs Union; the Common Agricultural and Fishery Policies; and we will have an independent foreign and defence policy whilst the supremacy of our courts will be restored."
18th June 2018
Henry was delighted that the government was successful last week in rejecting every one of the Amendments put forward by the House of Lords, with majorities ranging from 11-30.
Commenting on the matter Henry said "I do believe this sends a strong message back to the House of Lords - whilst it is in order for them to propose technical amendments, it is completely wrong and unacceptable for them to try and pass wrecking amendments. It is also absurd to me that there are a significant number of Lords who actually want to stop Brexit and defy the will of the people."
With regards to a meaningful vote Henry has stated that "this is obviously an ongoing issue, and whilst I am not entirely opposed to a meaningful vote at the end of the negotiations and at the stage when the final deal is brought back to this country; it would, however, be quite wrong to give Parliament the power to try and direct the negotiations."
23rd March 2018
I was delighted the Prime Minister secured agreement before Christmas on the 3 key principles of Phase 1 of the Brexit negotiations. Indeed, many doubted whether this would be possible but she managed to confound her critics.
Since then, the Prime Minister has united her Cabinet under her leadership and this is very good news indeed. Theresa May has shown herself to be resilient, strong and statesmanlike.
It was also a really quite outstanding achievement for her to secure agreement on the transition. This will prevent the so-called ‘cliff edge’ scenario and give businesses much more certainty. Of course, there is still some way to go and I have already voiced my own concerns about staying within the Common Fisheries within the transition period.
On the subject of fisheries, I was one of the signatories of the recent letter to the Prime Minister which strongly urged her to spell out very clearly how Britain is going to take back control after the 1st January 2021.