On Thursday, Michael addressed the annual Sevenoaks Chamber of Commerce summer reception. As Patron of the Chamber, Michael spoke about the impact of the EU referendum result for small businesses and the important role of the Chamber in the local economy:
Thank you Colonel.
It’s a pleasure to join you all tonight in this, the busiest week in politics since last week.
Every MP will tell you that they represent the best constituency in the country.
But clearly they’ve never been to Sevenoaks.
All of you here tonight, coupled with these beautiful surroundings, make that clearer than ever.
I always like to remind people that it is small and medium-sized businesses like some of those represented here tonight which make up 99 percent of the total in Britain.
In Sevenoaks, there are now 600 more businesses than there were six years ago.
Employing more people, producing more goods, selling more services.
That’s the equivalent of a new business being set up every three days.
So despite that success, or perhaps because of it, I know some of you are concerned about the result of the referendum on our EU membership and our current economic instability.
I would like to reassure you that our new Government, led by a new Prime Minister, is already working hard to restore the confidence and certainty that we need.
We are well prepared for the period of adjustment that lies ahead.
We will do whatever it takes to protect our economy.speech
We will forge new arrangements and trade deals.
We will make it work.
As we leave the EU, there will be lots of changes.
It will not be easy to negotiate a deal with the EU that controls immigration and recovers sovereignty while protecting our hard won economic growth.
But what will not change is the ingenuity, commitment and hard work of businesses like yours all around the country, but most of all here in Sevenoaks.
That’s always been valuable and I think its value will become even clearer in the coming years.
But the importance of your contribution demonstrates why the work of our Chamber of Commerce is so important.
I am always impressed by the range of the services and events that are on offer.
I am reliably informed that the new networking meetings are proving to be successful, as well as your recent charity golf day, your newsletter and the Curry Club.
It is with opportunities like these that our local economy can go from strength to strength. I encourage you all to make full use of them.
Finally, I would like congratulate the Chamber of Commerce on its achievements over the past year, and wish you all the very best of luck.
It’s now a pleasure to introduce Marc Vernet, headline sponsor of tonight’s event and owner of that stalwart of Sevenoaks for the past 25 years, Amherst Accountancy.