Lincolnshire MPs have reacted with optimism, eagerness and in some cases slight trepidation as the UK officially begins the two-year process of leaving the European Union.
Prime Minister Theresa May will today trigger Article 50 — the mechanism by which the UK begins its formal departure from the EU — following the Brexit vote on June 23, 2016.
Lincolnshire Reporter spoke to some of the county’s MPs to hear their thoughts on what promises to be a momentous day in the history of the country.
Below are their thoughts:
Matt Warman – Boston and Skegness
Today is an important day in British history: the day the Prime Minister will formally begin the process of taking the United Kingdom out of the European Union.
Just as holding the referendum on the EU was a promise made and a promise delivered, this too delivers on a promise to respect the will of the people.
The coming two years will not be straightforward, but the business of Brexit will be handled by a team of experienced statesmen and women – that should give voters of all persuasions the confidence to take the smooth with the inevitable occasional rough patch.
At the end, as I said before the referendum, I know the UK will thrive.
I hope that in the coming months people will see that democracy itself is a process that matters and can deliver real change.
That began in 2015 with the election of a government that promised a referendum: under Theresa May, we can be certain it will not end – outside the EU – in 2019 either.
Nic Dakin – Scunthorpe
I am filled with sadness at the prospect of leaving the European Union. The UK’s relationship with the EU has shaped my adult life – contributing to the longest period of peace, freedom and prosperity ever in this part of the world.
But the people have spoken and we must respect their will.
It is now time to forge a new relationship that will be as durable and beneficial as that old relationship.
It is time to identify the opportunities and seize them whilst mitigating the risks.
It is time to take a deep breath and go for it!
Karl McCartney – Lincoln
Today is an historic and wonderful day in the history of the United Kingdom – a day where we take back control of our laws, borders, trade and future.
I am confident that businesses across our city, county and country will grow as they take advantage of our role as a global trading country again, with a positive outlook, a healthy economy and a buccaneering spirit, un-cowed and unfettered by EU bureaucrats and their love of bureaucracy.
I am also hoping that we at last gain control of immigration – every year net immigration to this country is equivalent to the whole population of Nottingham, this situation has been allowed to continue for too long.
Positively I am sure our fishing fleet is also looking forward to regaining control of our fishing areas and ensuring our fishery businesses prosper rather than keeping the lights on in fishing communities across the EU.
My only regret is that in Parliament we have to listen all the time to some in the Labour Party, SNP and Liberal Democrats who want to overturn the result of the referendum including ignoring the majority of people who voted Leave in Lincoln and Lincolnshire, and across our great country.
Martin Vickers – Cleethorpes
Triggering Article 50 is good news.
All nations are shaped by their history and because of that history and our links with the Commonwealth and the wider world Britain decided not to become a member of the European Community when it was founded in 1957.
When we did eventually join it was ‘sold’ to British voters as an economic union; we never have and never would have committed to political union.
As such we have been ‘semi-detached’ members always seeking opt-outs from various policies.
Europe is in recession; our future is to expand our trade links with Asia, South America and the growing economies.
Brexit will be better for the UK, for Lincolnshire, and for my Cleethorpes constituency.
Melanie Onn – Great Grimsby
I voted to trigger Article 50, even though I campaigned passionately to remain in the European Union, because I accept the result of the referendum and believe that it would have been wrong for MPs to have delayed the process.
As we start to detangle ourselves from over 40 years of collective policy it is important that we recognise that we are leaving the European Union, not Europe.
We must seek to protect fundamental workers’ rights, the economy, the rights of EU citizens making a living here in the UK, and continue to collaborate on national security.
I don’t want anyone to be poorer or have fewer opportunities as a result of the government’s final deal – that’s why it is essential that parliamentary scrutiny takes place.
Sir Edward Leigh – Gainsborough
We took the first giant step last June when we voted in the referendum. Today we have taken the next big step, to formally notify the European Union of our intention to leave the organisation.
Whilst there is obvious uncertainty, we will after all, be the first country to leave the EU since Greenland in 1985 or Algeria in 1962 (upon gaining their independence from France) – a cautionary tale for Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP.
We can take comfort that we are a sophisticated first-world country; well placed to weather any turbulence from our departure.
A nation of shopkeepers as Napoleon once dismissed us saying “L’Angleterre est une nation de boutiquiers.”, but that entrepreneurialism, identified initially by Adam Smith, is precisely why we have the best chance of rising to the challenges of Brexit and delivering for this generation and all those that will follow a better tomorrow.
Caroline Johnson – Sleaford and North Hykeham
Sleaford and North Hykeham voted strongly for Leave in the EU referendum, and I have given my full support to the Prime Minister in getting on with the job of triggering Article 50.
I am a committed Brexiteer and was not surprised by the result – for too long Westminster had failed to understand the genuine concerns of many people across the country.
I was proud to vote for the passing of this historic Bill and will continue to support the government to ensure as smooth a leaving process as possible, and to secure the best deal possible for the United Kingdom and for all of us in Lincolnshire.
Nick Boles – Grantham and Stamford
Many will know I voted Remain, but equally I have always been clear that Brexit would not be a disaster.
I accepted the result and I respect the views of the British people, as well as the democracy that we are so proud of as a country.
I’m very optimistic about the opportunities outside the EU and the things that we could achieve as a country, opening new doors and new possibilities for UK citizens and businesses.
I’ll do everything I can to support it, to help the government and Theresa May in any way I can and make sure that we get the best deal for all of us going forward.
Victoria Atkins – Louth and Horncastle
In the general election, I campaigned for a referendum and promised to honour the result of the referendum.
Accordingly, this month I voted with the government to trigger Article 50.
Wednesday, March 29 is an historic day for our country, when the Prime Minister gives formal notification to the EU of our intention to leave.
But this is just the start. The Prime Minister laid out our plan for Britain to make a success of our exit from the European Union and in international trade deals.
With this plan, I am confident that we will get the right deal for Britain.