Opinion: Brexit negotiations and a council election
PUBLISHED: 08:00 07 January 2018
The dawning of 2018 marks our final fifteen months of EU membership, and the first weeks back in Parliament will see debates on the Customs Bill and the Trade Bill – legislation designed to give the UK our own customs and excise regime and to rollover trade deals to which we are currently party as an EU member.
These two Bills look to complement the next stage of Brexit negotiations which focus on trade, and are just part of the extensive preparation under way to ensure we are ready to leave the EU in March 2019 – whatever the outcome of those negotiations.
I shall be playing my role in all this as a member of the International Trade Committee, which recently met our chief negotiator in Brussels and is stepping up inquiries into trade with the US and Commonwealth countries.
Brexit offers an exciting chance to reshape our nation for the road ahead and the prime minister outlined in her New Year message an ambitious domestic agenda that focuses on schools, policing and health.
Before Christmas, the government announced that the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, will be able to increase police funding by £42.9m next year and there will be an extra £50m available for counter-terrorism policing.
London now has well over double the national average of police officers per head of the population but I continue to press the case with Mr Khan that Havering is not getting enough of them.
I also had private meetings with senior Met officers and with our Deputy Borough Commander to raise residents’ concerns about crime.
Meanwhile, 2018 brings a new set of council elections across London to decide who gets to run the capital’s 32 boroughs and the vital services they provide.