Member of Parliament for the Huntingdon Constituency
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My work on the Brexit Select Committee becomes ever more intensive as the leaving date approaches. Please see my thoughts below on the current debate about our future customs arrangements. At the bottom of this email I have also provided another update on where we are with the respective A1, A14 and A428 improvement schemes.
Finally, I appreciate that many people have faced significant disruption to daily commutes this week as a result of the train timetable changes that were implemented at the beginning of the week. The delays and cancellations that have occurred are unacceptable and please be assured that I am raising concerns with Great Northern and the Department for Transport.
Jonathan Djanogly MP
In Berlin recently on a visit by the Brexit Select Committee to explore issues concerning our future trading relationship post-Brexit.
Our Future Arrangements with the EU
The Brexit Select Committee now regularly takes evidence from Ministers, businesses, regulators and other EU and non EU countries.
The key debate at the moment is over the position of the customs arrangements that we are to have with the EU after the Brexit implementation period due to end in December 2020.
Given the level of our business with the EU, very few people argue that we should leave the EU with no deal. This would result in having a hard border, businesses paying tariffs and suffering non-tariff regulations that would severely inhibit free trade.
The Government is currently reviewing two alternatives (and variants thereof), namely: the “Max Fac” option which would retain hard borders but look to minimise customs checks through the use of technology. Or, a “Customs Partnership” which would retain open borders through the use of technology and tariff collection agreements with the EU. This second option would aim to provide the benefits of customs union membership whilst not stopping the UK signing new Free Trade Agreements with other countries.
It has to be said, as has been recognised by the Cabinet, that both schemes have their challenges and may need more time than December 2020 to be implemented; that is, of course, on the basis that the EU accepts either of these plans in the first place. So far the EU has remained cool to both plans, citing for instance the problems with a hard border in Ireland.
For my part, I think we should give the Prime Minister her chance to negotiate as good a deal as she can get with the EU. Talk of leadership elections and early General Elections are pointless and can only undermine our negotiating position. Tariffs are about trade and what my constituency exporting businesses tell me is that they don’t want to pay tariffs, nor have their lorries backed up for miles at Dover nor be inundated with more paperwork. For me, this is the challenge and will be the basis for Parliament to finally judge the deal produced later this year.
Supporting the 30th anniversary celebrations of Huntingdon based manufacturer Encocam.
Visiting Crosshall Junior School in Eaton Ford to to deliver a 'FUTURE ME' talk about working in government and being a Member of Parliament.
Joining the Deputy Lord Lieutenant and the Mayor of St Ives to support the Cromwell District Scouts parade in St Ives.
Progress on the A1, A14 and A428
Many local residents have contacted me in recent weeks to ask for an update on the progress Highways England is making on the A428 Black Cat roundabout to Caxton Gibbet upgrade scheme.
In early 2017, Highways England consulted on proposals to provide a dual carriageway on the A428 between Black Cat roundabout and Caxton Gibbet and to improve the Black Cat roundabout. This consultation sought views on a range of route and junction options.
Responses to the consultation raised comments about the options proposed and how they relate to the ongoing A1 East of England Strategic Study.
The aim of the A1 Strategic Study is to consider whether there is a case for bringing consistency to the southern section of the route, from the junction with the M25 in the south to Peterborough in the north. In particular, it will look at the case for improving the non-motorway section linking the two parts of the A1(M) to motorway standard.
This will require further analysis to fully understand the implications for the A428 scheme. This means that the preferred route announcement has not been possible in 2017 as originally envisaged. I have repeatedly raised concerns with Highways England and Transport Ministers on this and they recognise that the delay is frustrating, however it is important that the scheme meets the long term needs of local communities and road users throughout the region. I shall continue to push on this.
A further statutory consultation will be held following the announcement of the preferred route. This will give local people another opportunity to share views and continue to help shape the scheme.
The photo at the top of this text is from a recent meeting I had with James Palmer, Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. Mayor Palmer and I agree on the need for vital infrastructure upgrades throughout the County to transform our local transport networks.
The £1.5bn A14 project will upgrade 21 miles of the A14 to three lanes in each direction adding additional capacity, boosting the local and national economy and cutting up to 20 minutes off journeys. The project includes a major new bypass for Huntingdon, widening the A1 between Brampton and Alconbury, widening the existing A14 between Swavesey and Milton and improving the junctions at Bar Hill, Swavesey, Girton, Histon and Milton. The A14 improvement scheme will also include improvements in Huntingdon town centre, including the demolition of the A14 viaduct and new local access roads. The new bypass and widened A14 will open to traffic by the end of 2020, although some finishing work such as the removal of the A14 viaduct in Huntingdon will continue beyond that. I am pleased to be able to report that the scheme is still currently proceeding on time.
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