Last Thursday the House of Commons passed the European Union Withdrawal Bill. I was proud to be able to vote for one of the major commitments of our election manifesto and to see it pass without any amendments. This is of course in stark contrast to the debates held in Parliament before the General Election and underlines why it was so necessary to call one. The Bill will now go to the House of Lords and following its approval will receive Royal Assent in time for us to leave the European Union on 31st January.
As a result of the certainty about Brexit that has been delivered through the clear majority for the Conservative Party at the General Election, the government can now start to make other policy decisions, which will have an immediate and positive impact for us here in Kent. The Operation Brock barrier was placed on the M20 motorway last March as an emergency measure, established in case the UK left the EU without a deal in place to manage the movement of goods out of the country, across the Dover straits. Operation Brock was designed to create a contraflow system on the London bound carriageway of the M20, allowing the two way movement of traffic to continue, should delays to lorries leaving the country require them to queue on the coast-bound lanes, between junctions 8 and 9. We can now be confident that the UK will leave the EU at the end of this month, and that the trade talks will then be able to begin. As these talks will run for the rest of 2020, we do not need the barrier to be in place in case of a no deal exit this month. Last Tuesday, along with other Kent MPs, I met with the Roads Minister Chris Heaton-Harris, to request that the Operation Brock barrier be removed. We were all pleased to learn that this will now happen, and that work will commence this week to start to remove it. This work will continue for 16 nights, starting this Monday, between 10pm and 6am. It will mean that diversions will be in place for people looking to journey between those times on the London bound carriageway between junctions 9 to 7. More information about these works can also be found on the Highways England website.
Last Friday I met with the postmaster of Dymchurch, Grant Peakall, along with representatives of the Post Office. There has been concern about the future provision of postal services in the village after Mr Peakall retires, and we were seeking reassurances from the Post Office about this. They told us that they remain committed to keeping these services in Dymchurch, and I want to see this continue either in the existing Post Office, or in another similarly suitable location. I expect to have further updates from the Post Office in the coming months, and if you have any concerns or questions about this, please get in touch with me by post at the House of Commons or by email at [email protected].