Last week, 33 million people voted on the future of the United Kingdom in Europe. A big decision has been taken – it is now vital that we make it work for our country and our future.
I agree with the Prime Minister and the Cabinet that the decision of the people must be accepted and the process of implementing this in the best way possible must now begin.
There are undoubtedly challenges ahead. We need to unite our country and preserve the best of our relationship with Europe.
I join the Prime Minister in reassuring European citizens living here, and British citizens living in European countries, that there will be no immediate changes in their circumstances; nor will there be any initial change in the way our citizens can travel, the way our goods can move, or the way our services can be sold.
As a result of the Conservative’s long-term plan, we have one of the strongest economies in the world. We have low, stable inflation; our employment rate remains the highest it has ever been and our financial system is substantially more resilient than it was six years ago. The Governor of the Bank of England and the Financial Conduct Authority have contingency plans in place to maintain financial stability and will not hesitate to take further measures if required.
The Prime Minister has made it clear to the European Council that although Britain is leaving the European Union, we will not turn our back on Europe. The next government will negotiate the nature of our future relationship, but we all agree that we must seek the strongest possible economic links with our European neighbours, as well as maintain security co-operation and ensure we are in a position to influence the welfare of our own people.
Let’s hold on to our vision of a Britain that wants to be respected abroad, tolerant at home, engaged in the world and working with our international partners to advance the prosperity and security of our nation for generations to come.
The British people have taken a momentous decision to leave the European Union – let’s make it work.