BREXITEER Mark Francois has set out an ambitious timetable for Brexit culminating in a wide-ranging trade deal at the end of the year.
And the deputy chairman of the European Research Group said he was already planning his celebration in advance of January 31, the day the UK will leave the European Union. Tory Mr Francois, speaking hours after he was re-elected as MP for Rayleigh and Wickford with a thumping majority of 31,000 after picking up 72.6 percent of the vote, said: “Brexit is now definitely going to happen by the January 31.
“There will be no second referendum.
“We had a People’s Vote – it was called a general election and in that general election the public voted overwhelmingly to get Brexit done.
“The Liberal Democrats, whose policy has clearly been to revoke Article 50 and remain came out one seat down and lost their leader into the bargain.”
Looking to the future, he added: “Once we leave the European Union on January 31, we withdraw from its institutions.
“We are no longer part of the customs union, we are no longer part of the single market.
“We withdraw our MEPs from the European Parliament (sorry Nigel!) because quite rightly we no longer have rights to have seats.
“All of our MEPs lose their jobs and we leave.
“And we have 11 months to negotiate a comprehensive free trade agreement which would come into force at the end of 2020.”
“This will have to be a negotiation.
“But the ERG have absolute confidence in the Prime Minister to negotiate an excellent Free Trade Agreement for the United Kingdom, based not least on the fact that he successfully renegotiated the withdrawal agreement that everyone and his wife said was impossible.”
The understandably ebullient Mr Francois added: “In around six weeks from today, we will leave the European Union.
“On the morning on February 1 the sun will rise on a free country and I for one intend to stay up and see it.
“And I cannot guarantee that at that point I will be entirely sober!”
Speaking to Express.co.uk on the campaign trail last month, Mr Francois pinpointed Brexit as the central issue for voters.
He said: “What you’re finding in Essex is people just want to get out now.
“We’ve had over three years, people have seen why it was delayed, they’ve seen that MPs in Parliament were playing silly games and using procedural devices to try and overturn the democratic result of the referendum and the overriding feeling here on the doorsteps is one way or another, for God’s sake finish it, just get us out.
“There is definitely frustration and anger even from some Remainers.
“This particular constituency voted to leave 67-33 but even among that 33 who voted remain you now have a lot of people who say look we’ve had three years of this I just want to finish it, I want to get out.”