IT was the immediate reaction to Theresa May’s announcement that she intends to trigger Article 50 by the end of next March which revealed the invidiousness of the Prime Minister’s position as she begins to define – and then deliver – Brexit.
One-time party leader Iain Duncan Smith, who campaigned for Britain to leave the European Union, said there was still time to accelerate this process as he sought to portray this as a vindication of the hard- line Brexiteers; Remain campaigner Anna Soubry, sacked as Business Minister by the new PM, accused the Government of undue haste while Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson refused to back Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s credentials during a tetchy interview.
At least Mrs May’s measured approach to the greatest political challenge since Britain joined the fledgling EEC is more reassuring – her timetable gives Ministers time to undertake the necessary preparatory work and prepare to repeal the 1972 European Communities Act so this can country can regain its independence from Brussels.
Yet what was striking, as Mrs May made her first address to the Tory faithful as Prime Minister, was an acceptance that some aspects of EU law, like employment legislation, should be retained to protect workers from unscrupulous bosses and that this will be non-negotiable on her watch.
This is precisely the type of pragmatism that Mrs May’s government needs to show – a point that squabbling former ministers don’t appear to be appreciate – and the planned Great Repeal Act, the centrepiece of the next Queen’s Speech, means that MPs will be able to identify the European regulations that they wish to retain.
As the Tory leader reminded her critics, MPs voted by a six to one majority to sanction the EU referendum and Parliament is now duty-bound to uphold the will of the people as she accused those trying to derail the process of subverting democracy. She has left her party and the country in no doubt – Brexit will be delivered and she means business. Theresa May will have many bloody battles ahead, but no one can doubt her determination to secure the best possible outcome for this country.
A DEFINING test of Theresa May’s Government will be school standards – and making sure that Yorkshire is no longer languishing at the bottom of national league tables. As this newspaper has repeatedly highlighted, there needs to be a strategy comparable to the London Challenge which has transformed attainment in the capital.
Yet exam results are only part of the aspiration agenda which needs to be pursued locally, regionally and nationally. Not only does this county need to find innovative ways of recruiting top teachers and lecturers for schools and universities, but it also needs a greater proportion of the brightest and best students and graduates being convinced that they don’t have to up sticks to London to fulfil their ambitions. This ‘brain drain’ only serves to exacerbate the North-South economic divide.
Take Scarborough, where North Yorkshire County Council is – to its credit – spending £750,000 on a new strategy to raise standards. It realises that there are only so many jobs in the town’s tourism and hospitality sector and the whole approach needs to be far more innovative.
Yet it will be counter-productive if the most talented students then leave Scarborough at the first opportunity – people like Gavin Wiliamson, who is now Mrs May’s chief whip.
The challenge is creating a business climate which persuades them to pursue their chosen career close to their family roots – and this will only happen if the infrastructure is in place which enables Britain’s coastal communities to become dynamic towns where successful young people want to live, work and prosper.
THREE cheers for the resurgence of micro-breweries and those locally-produced craft beers that tickle the tastebuds because of their distinctive flavour.
Not only are pubs and bars being force to stock these delectable drinks in response to public demand according to a new survey, but they’re also helping to promote regional food and beverages.
Yorkshire is already regarded as the food capital of Britain – what better way to celebrate this success than raising a glass to the area’s hospitality industry with a pint of real ale brewed in this great county?