Andrew Jones: Divided communities like Harrogate need uniting after Brexit

Andrew Jones
Andrew Jones

Harrogate was one of three places across Yorkshire which voted to remain in the EU but the split was one of the narrowest across the UK.

Since the result was confirmed on June 24, Brexit has almost astonishingly been pushed to the periphery as a period of political upheaval began.

Cross-party resignations, a new Conservative leader, a brutal cabinet reshuffle and continued turmoil amongst the Labour party have dominated the headlines.

However, with Theresa May now firmly in place at 10 Downing Street, Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andrew Jones believes the process of negotiating a Brexit deal can now begin in earnest.

The Conservative MP has stated that the impact of Brexit has yet to be truly felt but called for Mrs May to focus on uniting divided communities.

He said: “We have to bring this country, which has been quite divided due to the vote being so close in many parts including Harrogate, back together.

“I know myself that there have been lots of big arguments in families and companies over the outcome of the vote so we have to unite those people again.

“The most important thing now is to get the right deal for everyone in the UK and demonstrate that we are still outward looking and open for business.”

Following June’s Brexit vote, the country has seen a spike in hate crime incidents reported to police as well as instability across the economy.

However, Mr Jones said he was pleased that none of the predictions of “hysteria” from either camp has been realised and a lot of initial fears were “unfounded”.

He said: “The true impact has not yet been felt because we haven’t left the EU and I don’t think we will be doing for another two-and-a-half years.

“Of course there has been uncertainty across the country and that has been felt in the markets but it’s far too early to say how things will settle.

“One big concern that people had after Brexit was that we would become ‘little England’ but that is clearly now not true.

“Events since the vote and Mrs May’s actions have shown that concerns that we would become a smaller, more inward looking country, are unfounded.”

The new Prime Minister has made an “excellent start” as leader according to Mr Jones and is hoping to see her focus on access to single markets, immigration and a fair deal for Yorkshire in the Brexit negotiations.

“I don’t feel nervous about a deal for Yorkshire,” Mr Jones said.

“The early news from our new PM is that she is determined that all parts of our country will get a good deal and that nobody will be disadvantaged.

“She wants an economy that works for everyone. I don’t think we will see London benefitting at the expense of Yorkshire or any other parts of the country.