Fears still loom over Brexit

I’ve spent the short, and increasingly indefensible, conference recess catching up on constituency issues and visits. And wherever I go invariably the conversation gets round to Brexit.

My visit to Chirton Engineering allowed me to see local manufacturing at its best and we discussed upcoming opportunities in the energy sector. But when from time to time companies collaborate with European partners and sell in Europe both the benefits and drawbacks of Brexit have to be considered.

At the opening of the excellent new facilities for Older Person’s Mental Health at North Tyneside Hospital, I was shown round by a professional, dedicated and caring nurse who had what remains of a Polish accent. It led me to reflect on the importance for our NHS of workers from overseas.

Then to a service remembering the sinking of the fishing boat, Gaul, in 1974 with the loss of 36 lives, six local men, and over a cup of tea at the Fisherman’s Mission a frank discussion about the difficulties and advantages of quitting the Common Fisheries Policy.

Then on to the latest emails calling for reassurance about protecting environmental safeguards and workers rights after Brexit. I’ve been clear in previous columns that there should be no retreat on standards.

The Prime Minister says Brexit means Brexit and she’s right. But what that means, how and when to get there remains to be seen.