I hope you had a restful Christmas and New Year, although it seems like so long ago as much has happened this year already. I was grateful to be able to enjoy a few days with my family and to "recharge my batteries" for the year ahead, and January has been as busy as predicted.
2017 will bring some monumental changes for our country and I for one am excited about the new opportunities this year will bring. By March, our Prime Minister will trigger article 50, and our departure from the EU will be set in motion.
Much is being made of what sort of Brexit we should seek, but I think we need to be clear on who is it for and what it is we want to achieve. Rather than a Brexit that is seen to benefit only bankers, or farmers, we need a Brexit that benefits everyone.
In this crucial time before Article 50 is triggered we need to be clear about our priorities, we need to set the right tone, we need to understand how the EU works and identify potential trade-offs. We need to be bold in what we ask for, and to be prepared to walk away if the deal is seen to be unacceptable. I believe our Prime Minister set exactly the right tone in her speech in mid-January and has given our country the direction and leadership we need.
However, our success relies on our unity; we have to move forward together. Our PM needs our support and by pulling together as a country the opportunities that lie ahead are endless.
Syed Kamall MEP