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Brexit plan must treat EU as friends and neighbours – not enemies or competitors

As an entrepreneur and business owner who championed remaining, Charlie Mullins firmly believes the Brexit plan must encourage collaboration with the EU.
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I know better than most just how amazing being an entrepreneur can be. You have an idea, you’re brave enough to put it into practice and if it takes off, you’ve carved out your own career path and can reap the rewards.

I’ve enjoyed a pretty successful career, but it hasn’t been without its challenges. When you set up on your own you’re like an actor playing multiple roles in a one man show. You have to play the part of the marketing expert, the banker, the lawyer and the boss – there are so many things to juggle.

On top of that, there are the outside influences we can’t control such as recessions, and, of course, Brexit. We have pretty much been on hold since the referendum vote, partly because of the need to insert some democratic sovereignty into the process, which is why I took the government to court.

But now the Queen has granted Royal Assent to the Brexit Bill and after the House of Commons rejected the two amendments, this seems to be the final push to get the ball rolling.

From the moment Theresa May triggers Article 50 and unveils her Brexit plan, which all eyes are on her now to do, the economic landscape will start to change – and, whether we like it or not, we will face an immediate future of economic uncertainty.

What we need to do now more than ever is to not let uncertainty be detrimental to our success, but to let it be our driving force in securing a brighter future for our country. After all, our economy survived the referendum vote and we need to make sure it does the same during negotiations.

I will continue to balance my position as a proud and dedicated “remainer” with my role as a practical entrepreneur, who has built a career and a successful business by dealing with the cards I’ve been dealt. As such, we need to keep calm, work hard and continue to do our bit to win business and create jobs.

It’s what we did during the last recession and I’m sure we’ll continue to do again once Britain is operating outside the European Union in two years’ time after executing its Brexit plan.

What May does need to focus on is securing us the best deal possible and deal with any ramifications. She’s previously said that “no deal is better than a bad deal”, but I am convinced she is good enough a negotiator to ensure that doesn’t happen.

As Brexit minister David Davis stated, the focus should be “to build a positive new partnership with our friends and neighbours in the European Union”– not treat them as our enemy or competitors.

As a realistic and practical remainer, this has to be top of the prime minister’s agenda. When that happens in the Brexit plan, we can start taking the steps out into the world as an independent force, but equally, as part of a “truly global Britain”.

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About Author

Charlie Mullins

Charlie Mullins, also an OBE, is the archetypal entrepreneur – having started his business from scratch and then building it into a multi-million pound enterprise. From humble beginnings growing up on an estate in South London, he left school with no qualifications, but after a four-year plumbing apprenticeship he started his own firm, Pimlico Plumbers, which now generates a turnover in excess of £30m and boasts many well-known names among its many clients including Simon Cowell, Helen Mirren and Richard Branson. He has been a regular contributor on Real Business since 2011 and is particularly about apprenticships.

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