Skullduggery12’s last article as International Trade Secretary
I vividly remember walking up Downing Street to Number 10, where I would accept the position of International Trade Secretary, succeeding u/CheckMyBrain11 – who had become Prime Minister. Shortly after, I began travelling around the world visiting our international partners to work to unlock new markets for British Businesses and negotiate with our European friends on our future relationship.
A crowning achievement of my stewardship of the department will be negotiating with the European Union (EU) to deliver a free trade deal and the United Kingdom’s accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), due to the timing of the Government collapse I was not able to update the House of Commons. Part of my work was having a dialogue with our EU and Irish counterparts to ensure that the integrity of the United Kingdom was upheld, and my constituency Northern Ireland, continues to be peaceful and prosperous, but also that the UK can continue to trade and be safe with our European friends. The working relationship I maintained with EU negotiators was an amicable one, they negotiated and considered the United Kingdom’s priorities as ones that are important to our future relationship and shared prosperity as a key security and economic power.
As the next government takes up the mantle to continue our negotiations with the EU that my department oversaw, the importance of getting it right should not go unrecognised and that any grandstanding on the peace of Northern Ireland from the next Government or any other party for that matter, is inappropriate and jeopardises any progress we have made. Throughout my time in office, I was mindful of the Belfast Agreement and any assertion that we must endlessly extend the transition period when our communities must be able to plan for the future is not something I can sign up to as their Member of Parliament.
The words of advice I have for my successor, from whatever party they may be from, is that it’s important to maintain a commitment to the steps and framework setup by the 25th and 26th Government in securing our future relationship with the EU.
As this will be my last article as the Secretary of State for International Trade, I would like to thank my civil servants who worked alongside me during these talks. I would also like to thank u/CheckMyBrain11, u/MatthewHinton12345, and u/eelsemaj99 for their counsel and advice on working with the EU and our future relationship with them.
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