I have received a great deal of correspondence on the subject of the EU Referendum and in order to fully appreciate the feeling within my own constituency, it has been vitally important to me to read every letter and email that my constituents have sent to me; I have now done this.
Firstly, let me say that I voted to Remain but I too, have to respect the right of the people who have voted to leave and I think we all now have to work together to turn this result into a positive – into an opportunity, not a threat. In conducting a Referendum, our country has gone through one of the most far reaching democratic exercises in recent history with an almost unprecedented turnout of over 33 million people all taking the opportunity to vote and have their say on Britain's future.
The Referendum was a very closely contested campaign and whilst I and my other parliamentary colleagues in Suffolk collectively voted to remain as part of the EU, the wider electorate voted to leave. This is the democratic right of the people and I believe that now we must find a way, regardless of our political allegiance, to respect the will of the voters and work together to deliver the future voted for by the people of my constituency, and Britain as a whole.
Despite the result of the Referendum there is no immediate short term change in our circumstances, no sudden changes to travel arrangements for UK citizens or their ability to move around the EU.
Sometimes fear of the unknown is far worse than the reality; in this case, I believe that we have a great opportunity here to go forwards and shout about all that is great here in Britain. In Suffolk, especially within my own constituency, we have much of which to be proud.
With our growing specialist technologies, such as telecommunications, the energy sector and life sciences, our booming food and drink industry, world-renowned agricultural sector and tourism offering, our next generation of young people have an exceptionally exciting future ahead of them. In fact, I would go one step further and say that Suffolk is vital in not only supporting and contributing to the UK's vibrant economy, but we are already leading the way in many areas and remain perfectly placed to grow and prosper due to our excellent geographical links and educational offering.
In Suffolk we already have an excellent track record of working collaboratively, innovatively and inclusively and I strongly believe that we have the resilience and expertise to rise to this new challenge. I see the coming months as a time for reflection and great opportunity, a time where we can consider what we want for our future and how we can ensure that we are in pole position to get the very best outcome.
I would also like to take this opportunity to reassure each and every one of my constituents that I shall continue to work hard to represent them to the best of my ability.
Theresa May, our new Prime Minister, has pledged to do her best to take the Country through the process of withdrawing from the European Union under the best possible terms. She will be a positive force for good in restoring calm and stability and I firmly believe that through working inclusively and collaboratively, we really can be confident of a bright new future.