To everyone who voted yesterday - thank you. Thank you for getting involved and having your voice heard. Thank you for exercising your democratic right. Thank you for listening to the cases of both sides before making a decision.
Just under 52 per cent of Britain voted for a leave vote. I was one of them. I voted leave because I believe we need a fair and global immigration system that doesn't discriminate against non-EU countries.
Because our UK laws on women's rights, worker's rights and religious rights better protect us than the EU legislation. Our laws should be supreme, but unfortunately the EU can overrule them.
We should be trading with the world, creating our own trade deals in the best interest of British businesses of all shapes and sizes
Firstly, I believe we need a global, humane and fair response to immigration. I want an open, decent, outward looking Britain, but how can we have that when we ignore most of the world? Being a part of the EU allows EU citizens to have the right to come here, not based on skills, education, or what they can contribute to society, but based on where they were born.
We should not discriminate based on where an individual was born or what colour their passport - or even their skin - is. We can have a fair immigration policy that levels the playing field for everyone. Now we have decided to leave the EU, we can join the world.
Secondly, women are consistently told that our rights are under threat if we leave the EU, and that we should be grateful for the ‘strides’ that EU law has made on our behalf. The UK has led the way from the front for women’s rights and we will continue to do so outside of the EU.
The first Equal Pay Act in Britain was pioneered by the first female Minister of State, Barbara Castle, and was signed three years before we joined the EU. The UK passed the Abortion Act, the Divorce Reform Act and made the contraceptive pill free on the NHS all before we joined the EU.
Maternity rights and child care in this country offer far greater protections than the EU legislates for.
And perhaps most shockingly of all: the UK outlawed the abhorrent practice known as Female Genital Mutilation in 1985. Amazingly, the EU only passed legislation on this in 2012.
Britain protects women's rights better than the EU.
Now I’m not disillusioned - I realise the hard work starts now. The Government needs to find the best way for Britain to thrive outside of the European Union. A way to implement a fair and global immigration policy. A way to negotiate the best trade deals with the EU but also other countries around the world. A way to ensure Britain's influence is still heard across the globe, and to ensure we use our influence to help those who need it most.
I also realise that 48% of Britain did not want this result. That’s 16 million people who still need to be listened to.
I believe the most important thing now is for the public, whichever way one voted, to stay involved, to influence and to reform.
We need to pull together and make sure the Government, whoever that ends up being, knows what we desperately need from the exit agreements. We need to ensure the Government is thinking about all of us - small businesses and large, those in the north and the south, people who voted for this result and those that didn’t.
The beauty of democracy is that a case is laid out, and the public gets to decide. This time, the public decided to leave the European Union and to take control. Taking control starts now, with each and every one of us getting involved.