Frank Field MP
Your MP for Birkenhead
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Conservatives aren’t up to the Brexit challenge


13 June 2017
Guardian

The two-year Brexit negotiating clock is fast ticking away (EU threatens a year-long delay in Brexit talks, 12 June). There is an urgent need to move beyond slogans and start to spell out the broad negotiating headings, and how these will link to great domestic reform. I write as a Brexiteer who believes that membership of the single market should be central to the negotiations, and not be thrown away as the prime minister has done.

We have no means of quickly bringing down EU immigration to below 100,000 people a year without damaging the economy. Border controls, technical training and welfare reform need to be seen as part of the domestic reforms that accompany the negotiations for exiting the European Union.

A key question here is, what vacancies need to be filled by British workers as controls on EU workers are phased in? The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy needs detailed replies from industry on this front. We then need to use proven 12-week apprenticeship courses for specific skills, such as bricklaying and carpentry, to be offered in those areas where vacancies will occur as immigration controls begin to take effect. The Department for Work and Pensions then needs to revolutionise its welfare reform programme so that claimants are ready to take up these specialised apprenticeship courses, thereby leading to well-paid jobs.

I see no sign of the government in any way matching up to the challenge of successfully negotiating Brexit, which ought to lead to a revolution in domestic policy, if our economy is not to be harmed.
Frank Field MP
Labour, House of Commons



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