Article first published on The Commentator.
The last couple of weeks has provided yet more signs of Britain’s bright trading future following Brexit. The first was Theresa May’s first address to the Conservative Party Conference as leader. She did not disappoint.
The Prime Minister delivered an emphatic message to the party faithful, promising to make the UK a sovereign nation once again. This, she insisted, would include the restoration of control over Britain’s borders through to the end of free movement of EU workers.
Responding to the bitter Remainers, the PM told the country to ignore the ‘pessimists’ who claim Britain can succeed only if it is shackled to the EU, and accused them of trying to ‘subvert democracy’ with their attempts to stop Brexit.
She trumpeted the numerous opportunities Brexit would provide, and revealed a tantalising glimpse into Britain’s bright future.
Theresa May has previously claimed she does not want her premiership to be ‘defined by Brexit’. Her speech at Conference revealed the truth. Her place in history will be determined by her handling of Brexit, and she knows it.
Addressing cheering supporters, the PM stressed how Britain doesn’t need to “punch above our weight” to make Brexit a success, as its weight is substantial enough already. How good it feels to have a Prime Minister who tries to inspire rather than frighten voters.
This optimism was shared by the new International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox, who urged Britain to rediscover its free trading heritage while championing trade liberalisation and repudiating protectionism across the globe.
Dr Fox stressed that while the UK is still a member of the EU, it cannot negotiate trade agreements, although he said he is able to “discuss the impediments that we might wish to eliminate ahead of agreements we might reach with other countries when we leave”.
Dr Fox’s plans for greater trade were given a major boost last week by China’s ambassador to the UK, Liu Xiaoming. He told attendees at an HSBC forum on China that businessmen from his country were not disappointed by the result of June’s referendum.
He went on to point out Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union would open up major new opportunities for an independent United Kingdom to deepen cooperation with China.
This view has also been supported by the former Prime Minister of Australia, Tony Abbott, who, at a UK-Australia Chamber of Commerce breakfast this week, revealed his plan for a comprehensive free-trade deal between Australia and Britain, which will be negotiated now and will only come into force when Britain formally leaves the EU.
What makes this doubly heartening is the fact Mr Abbott — like many other world leaders — had advocated Remain in the run up to the referendum.
Mr Abbott is not the only Remain supporter who has re-evaluated their view of Brexit. Last Tuesday, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicted the UK will be the fastest growing G7 economy this year, and accepted its predictions of a post-Brexit-vote financial crash were overly pessimistic.
British Remoaners should take note. It is not too late for them show a bit of humility and to embrace Brexit with the rest of us. The CBI has learnt this the hard way, with the recetn news of JCB’s intention to leave the business group as a result of its anti-Brexit stance.
The past fortnight has given another glimpse into the bright future Britain has to look forward to following Brexit. It is now up to all of us to make Brexit work, to prove to future generations why we were right to vote to Get Britain Out of the EU.