Across the country, the general election produced a result which many did not expect. But what has not changed is the fact that Brexit will dominate the political agenda for the foreseeable future.
This is inevitable, given the decision by the British people that we should leave the European Union. Sometimes people ask me, why leaving so is complicated. Can’t we just sever our relations with the EU and go back to as we were before we joined in 1973?
Unfortunately, things are not as straightforward as some assume. Many of our employment laws, health and safety legislation, consumer rights and environmental laws have been largely decided over the last 40 years with our European partners. When we leave the EU we have to decide if those laws are going to continue or not. If they are not going to continue, new laws will have to be put in their place.
Then there is the issue of ‘money’. Although Britain is a net contributor to the EU, Wales gets a lot more from the EU than we put in. We must make sure that this money continues for as long as possible and when it stops the UK Government needs to make up the shortfall.
Also, it is the case that two thirds of Wales’ exports go to the rest of the European Union. They go there because there are no tariffs imposed on our European exports as we are part of the Single European Market. If we pull out without a reasonable agreement, then Wales stands to lose much of its export market. The result will be thousands of people being made unemployed.
That’s why getting Brexit right is so important. While I fully accept that there was a clear majority in favour of leaving the EU, people did not vote to make themselves poorer. As someone who has taken a keen interest in things European for many years, I will be doing my best to make sure that the Government in Westminster negotiates a good deal for the people of Caerphilly, Wales and Britain.