Brexit & The Special Relationship

North Shropshire has historic links with the USA. Harold Macmillan appointed the former MP for Oswestry, David Ormsby-Gore, as the 36th British Ambassador to the USA in 1961 at the personal request of John F Kennedy, who had been a close friend of my predecessor at Oxford.

I have gone regularly to the United States firstly as a backbencher, then as Secretary of State both for Northern Ireland and for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Later this week, I will be speaking on “Why Brexit is Great for the UK & the USA” at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.

I will make it clear that Britain has no greater ally than the United States. The “Special Relationship” has been a cornerstone of our foreign policy for 100 years.

The new American Ambassador, Woody Johnson, got off to a great start when he said last month “…as far as the President is concerned, the United Kingdom, our most enduring ally, is always ahead of the line.”

The American Revolution and the 2016 Brexit vote had democratic control at their hearts; everyone is familiar with the rallying cry of “No taxation without representation.” Polling immediately after the vote showed that the majority of people who voted Leave upheld the principle that decisions about the UK should be taken in the UK.

In the months and years ahead, Britain must be guided above all by the decision which its people made in June 2016. The constitutional position we face is unprecedented. We have held a number of referendums over the last 50 years, but this is the first in which the people have contradicted the view of the political, judicial, financial, media and academic Establishment.

We can now retake our full seat on world bodies. We will regain our right to vote, our right to initiate new regulations and propose amendments to existing ones. We will co-operate with old friends in the Anglosphere and forge new alliances. For the US, this means regaining a reliable partner at those regulatory tables committed to global free trade, determined to embrace new technology, whose values of freedom and democracy they share.

In a whole range of fields including security, academia, scientific research and cultural exchanges, we look forward to maintaining the closest possible co-operation with our European neighbours. What we are offering is a vision of amicable, reciprocal free trade between sovereign nations, close neighbours and good friends. The Special Relationship will go from strength to strength and in the meantime, we will develop our relationships with other like-minded independent nations around the world, to the benefit of us all.