Saturday, 26 December 2020
Michael Gove has struck an optimistic tone, following the Government’s success in agreeing a trade deal with the European Union.
The Minister for the Cabinet Office, who famously upset David Cameron when he chose to campaign for Leave in 2016, has been in the thick of it overseeing the transition period and future relationship with the EU after Britain separates from the Single Market in 2021.
Writing in the Times, Gove admitted during that period he’d seen “old friendships crumble”, but had few regrets.
“Through it all I’ve been conscious of a responsibility. I asked people to vote Leave so they could have their voices heard,” wrote Gove. “They were clear about what needed to change. From Peterhead to Port Talbot. I had a duty to do everything I could to deliver for them.”
And while the former Justice and Education Secretary reached out to Remain voters, confessing, “I’ve made more than my share of mistakes or misjudgements” the main thrust of his piece was to get people excited about leaving the EU, now that it is finally happening for real.
“We have a duty to spread opportunity more equally across the UK,” wrote Gove. “Outside the EU, with a good trade deal in place, we can tackle the injustices and inequalities that have held Britain back.
“Outside the single market and the Customs Union, we can establish free ports, bringing innovation and investment to parts of the country that have endured economic decline. We can develop a smarter regulatory framework in new and emerging areas of technology, from the life sciences to AI, which can bring jobs to areas which have been neglected. We can intervene more smartly to support scientists and tech entrepreneurs.”
The son of a fishing business owner, whose previous Cabinet position was as Environment Secretary, was noticeably excited about the benefits for Britain’s small farms and long-neglected fisheries: “Outside the common agricultural policy we can support small farmers better and invest more in the environment.
“Outside the common fisheries policy we can secure more investment in coastal communities and manage our marine environment more sustainably. Outside the jurisdiction of the European Court we can introduce an Australian-style points-based immigration system, which enables us to attract the best scientific and medical talent while also protecting lower-paid workers from pressure on their wages.”
Gove added that the future of British manufacturing is exciting as the country now has an opportunity to build “independent” electric car, space, and satellite industries.
The mention of points-based immigration will catch the eye of many following recent reports the new system will be rolled out as soon as free movement with the EU ends on January 1st.
EU bureaucrats are licking their wounds over failing to prolong mass immigration with the UK. EU citizens looking to live in Britain for an extended period of time will have to pay between £610 and £1,408 for a visa. Longer-term, they will be required to pay a £624 per year health surcharge.
“It will also encourage employers to focus on training and investing in the UK workforce, driving productivity and improving opportunities for individuals, especially those impacted by coronavirus,” states the UK Government’s official website.