In the last 5 years we’ve proven that with a stable, unified Conservative led government Britain is a strong, adaptable nation that can withstand economic shocks. Brexit isn’t the path I would have chosen, or that Oxfordshire voted for, but we must accept Britain has spoken and I have confidence we will rise to the challenge. We must.
Inevitably there will be significant uncertainty over the terms of the UK’s future settlement with the EU. It is vital that the Government moves quickly to reassure those who voted Remain as well as those voted to Leave that their views will be taken into account. In particular the message needs to go out to our scientists and their collaborators in Europe that the UK remains firmly open for business as a willing and reliable partner. If EU research funding is affected after the exit negotiations that follow, the Treasury may have to reallocate funds previously sent to the EU. My committee’s recent report into EU regulation of the life sciences pointed out that this sector alone comprises almost 5,000 companies employing 200,000 people in the UK, generating an annual turnover of £60 billion. The Science and Technology Committee will want, in the coming weeks and months, to look at the consequences of this vote for British science.
I was very sad to watch the Prime Minister announce that he will step down. As fellow Oxfordshire MPs we haven’t always seen eye to eye but he has always had my support as leader of our Party because I know him to be a man who loves this country deeply and who is willing to fight for what he believes even if it is politically inconvenient. He is a true statesman and we will miss him.