You will have now seen that the UK Government has formally confirmed that the transition period will not be extended. I welcome this decision.
The British people voted to leave the EU in 2016 and I was always clear that the vote had to be respected. To have ignored it or tried to overturn it would have risked the trust of the electorate in our democratic institutions.
Leaving the EU enables the UK to take back control over a number of areas including our borders, laws and money. It ensures that lawmakers are directly accountable to voters in the country. This strengthens democracy.
Outside of the EU, the UK will be able to adapt more easily to the changes and technological innovations of the coming decades. We will be able to set regulations for new sectors to encourage investment and new ideas more quickly than the EU. We will be able to set rules for our benefit.
The UK will continue to cooperate with the EU across a range of areas including trade and security. We will remain allies and partners. At the same time, the UK is regaining the ability to make its own trade deals. The EU has predicted that 90 per cent of future world growth will come from outside of Europe and I believe that we will be well placed to take advantage of new markets overseas.
The Government also has ambitious plans for the future that will level-up the different regions of the country and secure our economic prosperity outside of the bloc. This includes £100 billion additional infrastructure investment, a £3 billion National Skills Fund and the fastest ever increase in domestic public Research and Development funding.
The UK Government is working in earnest to achieve a deal that benefits this country as well as our European friends and neighbours. However, the EU must be flexible in their demands. If the EU remains so entrenched in its position, then a no deal scenario will be of their own making.