Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Lord Callanan

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Lord Callanan

Article excerpt

IN the summer of 2016, a majority of people in the North East voted for change - for a United Kingdom outside of the European Union.

And since then we've taken huge strides towards forging the UK's bright future outside the EU.

I'm a big believer in the opportunities presented by Brexit, having campaigned as part of the Leave campaign.

Since becoming a minister at the Department for Exiting the EU in October, it is clear to me that we are on track to make a success of the UK's EU exit. Last month we reached an agreement with the EU that sufficient progress has been made to move negotiations onto to our future trading relationship.

I know that many people here are asking what that agreement means for them, their businesses and their families.

Firstly, it guarantees the rights of more than three million EU citizens living in the UK, and one million UK nationals living in the EU - so they can carry on living their lives broadly as they do now.

EU citizens living in the North East, whether it be working in local businesses, schools, hospitals or factories, make a massive contribution to our society, and we want them to stay after Brexit.

And with this agreement they can look to the future with confidence that their rights will be protected.

The agreement also recognises the real and tangible progress we've made on addressing the unique circumstances around the Northern Ireland border.

Nobody should be mistaken: this matters to people right across Britain - not just because it is the right thing to do, but because it is vital to the integrity of the United Kingdom.

Just as it wouldn't be right to agree a separate deal for the North East, or London, it wouldn't be right for us to create new barriers to trade or travel within our own country.

Following some tough conversations, Britain has also agreed a fair financial settlement that sees us meet our commitments - while keeping the future partnership we want with the EU in mind. …

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