Government's Digital Secretary touts Brexit deal as best for Britain's tech sector

He urged industry to back Theresa May's plans, saying it's the most likely plan to keep the country's economy alive

Image of the EU and UK flags breaking apart

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Jeremy Wright has urged the UK's tech sector to back Prime Minister Theresa May with her Brexit plans, saying it's the best deal possible for the sector.

He said the government has assured it will protect the free-flowing of data between the UK and rest of the EU when the deal is made. Data is such a huge part of the economy and making sure cloud computing continues unhindered is essential to enable research and services to continue as they operate within the EU.

"We have secured the best deal possible to protect our businesses and make sure our personal data is processed safely and securely," Wright said.

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"The deal will help support our talented tech innovators, future emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, while addressing unjustified barriers to digital trade."

He added that Theresa May's Brexit deal will also be committed to creating a secure online environment for everyone. Innovation and tech evolution also forms part of the deal, across sectors such as e-commerce, telecoms and emerging technologies, with the free exchanging of data between the UK and other member states promised.

"Businesses big and small and in every sector of the economy - from video games makers to hotel and travel companies, mail order firms to manufacturers - want certainty," Wright added. "We now need to back the Prime Minister and get the job done."

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The policy is being supported by some members of the tech industry, including Emma Jones, founder of small business support group, Enterprise Nation and Tech Nation CEO Gerard Grech.

"The UK is Europe's leading tech hub and is growing fast. We need to keep building on that momentum," Grech said.

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"The current deal is pragmatic and creates an element of certainty going forward. And the digital tech sector, which is both resourceful and entrepreneurial, will continue to thrive and build fresh opportunities in a post-Brexit world."

However, others oppose it, with Tech for UK, an organisation of technology companies that aim to lobby the government for "a meaningful vote by parliament or the people on the actual terms of Brexit", claiming that the current Brexit deal isn't good for the UK's tech industry. 

"It is our view that the government's 'Withdrawal Agreement and Political Agreement on leaving the European Union' will not serve the best interests of the UK tech industry. It will vastly increase friction in trade with the EU and impose significant and costly changes for the tech industry," the organisation said. 

"We therefore believe that Members of Parliament should NOT support the agreement in the meaningful vote' and should instead vote for a new referendum, a People's Vote', on Brexit, with the option to Remain in the EU."

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