BREXIT Secretary, Stephen Barclay, has answered questions put to him by our readers.

Mr Barclay, the secretary of state for Exiting the European Union, agreed to answer the questions saying Brexit was 'a huge issue' for the people of Worcestershire.

Here are the questions and answers:

John McKay: "How can anyone book a summer holiday to Europe with any confidence not knowing what will happen to the exchange rate, flights, border control etc and what kind of reception can the British people expect from the rest of Europe once we have left?"

Stephen Barclay: "John, if you are planning on going on holiday in Europe this summer, this deal means you can do so with confidence. Planes will continue to fly as they do now, you won't notice a difference at the EU border, your UK driver's licence will be recognised, your mobile charges will be the same in the EU and you can even take your pet dog if you have one! In essence, nothing will change for you during the implementation period. And beyond that - the political declaration on our future sets out how we will ensure you can continue to make those well-earned breaks, and, as a tourist, you can travel around Europe.

"And I would hope and expect we’d get the same reception as we always have - we’re not turning our back on our friends and neighbours in Europe, we’re leaving the institutions of the EU which people felt were no longer delivering for them. One thing that’s come through loud and clear over the past two years is the huge affection our fellow Europeans have for us - on the day we agreed this deal, Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, summed it up, saying: ‘We will remain friends until the end of days - and one day longer’."

Adam Smale: "Can you tell us how we’ll be better off by leaving the EU?"

Stephen Barclay: "Thanks for your question Adam. This is a deal that delivers on the referendum and the biggest democratic vote in our history and avoids the uncertainty we'd go into if this deal doesn't go through.

"This delivers on the fundamentals of what we campaigned for as Brexiteers. Ending free movement was a key part of the referendum campaign, as was not sending vast sums to Brussels, as was taking control of our fishing, while protecting jobs and ensuring we have good security cooperation. It does all of that and for the first time in 40 years means we will be free to set our own trade policy and cut deals that work for us and our partners around the world."

Dormston Cook: "With neither Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland , or indeed the UK or the EU, wanting to put a hard border up on the island of Ireland, who would erect it? And hence why do we need a backstop? And do you honestly believe the EU would allow us to leave their ‘club’ seeing that we are the second biggest net contributor?

Stephen Barclay: "The first thing to say about the backstop is nobody wants to use it.

"We don’t want to, and the EU doesn’t like it because it means they lose all access to our fishing waters the day it comes into effect, assuming there is no fisheries agreement in place, and it allows us full access to their markets without paying a penny - something they see as an unfair competitive advantage for the UK.

"You need a backstop because it provides certainty for the people of Northern Ireland and Ireland. It is an insurance policy which guarantees that all the progress we have made with the Belfast Agreement cannot be undone and that we can continue to build on the 20 years of peace in Northern Ireland.

"This is the only deal that provides that certainty - nothing else could preserve the economic and constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom, uphold the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement, and ensure people and businesses that rely on an open border between the Northern Ireland and Ireland can continue living their lives and operating as they do now."

Julie Phillips: "If this deal is voted down how prepared are you for a no Brexit deal?"

Stephen Barclay: "Julie, I understand your concerns. And make no mistake - the deal on the table is a much better outcome than leaving without one.

"It delivers on the result of the referendum, and that’s why I am very happy to throw my weight behind it as a Brexiteer. But it’s the job of a responsible government to ensure we’re prepared for all scenarios, and ensure that any potential difficulties are mitigated as much as possible.

"We have spent the past two years planning for a variety of outcomes and, as part of this, we have published 106 technical notices advising citizens and businesses on things they may need to do in the unlikely event of us leaving without a deal. Were it to happen, there will inevitably be bumps in the road. But we have taken what steps we can to avoid this turbulence where possible and reduce it where it cannot be avoided. Make no mistake - no deal is not a desirable outcome and there would be disruption. But we are prepared and the UK is big enough and resilient enough to make a success of things, come what may."

Annah Kontic: "Your claim that the Customs Union is temporary depends on our faith in two things: the Prime Minister’s negotiating ability and the EU’s generosity. On the basis of the record of the past two years, is that a gamble you’d make? The other EU states are not hiding their glee at our surrender. Emmanuel Macron has already said that he will veto a future trade deal – that is, keep us in the Customs Union – unless we open our fishing grounds to his skippers. The backstop will almost definitely come in to play unless we concede and is that not a threat to the union? How can you support such a position?

Stephen Barclay: "Annah, on your fishing point, the key thing about the backstop is nobody wants nor expects to use it, not least because the EU are hugely uncomfortable with it. If the backstop were to come into play, EU fishing fleets lose access to our waters overnight, assuming there is no fisheries agreement in place. We will be outside of the Common Fisheries Policy and have full control over whether French fishermen can enter our waters. And the backstop would give us tariff-free access without any budget contributions, freedom of movement, or alignment with EU rules at all in Great Britain or beyond a subset of strictly necessary ones in Northern Ireland. This is not something the EU are keen on, as they see this as the UK having an economic advantage."

Steve Jacobs: "Will we see any benefit from Brexit in the next 10 years?"

Stephen Barclay: "Yes Steve, we will! This is a good deal because it delivers on the referendum and means the UK is once more in control of its own destiny.

"No longer will our laws be made in Brussels, nor decisions on who we let into this country be controlled by others. And we will be able to strike our trade deals with countries around the world. We are obviously looking to have a close trading relationship with the EU, but we can also look for new deals with the likes of the US and Australia. And the days of sending billions of pounds to the EU will be over, allowing us to spend it on domestic priorities such as our NHS."

Sam Greenway: "Are you scared of a general election when the DUP fails to back this deal and the government collapses?"

Stephen Barclay: "Thanks Sam, it’s in the national interest to back this deal and I believe it delivers on the result of the referendum. I hope that Parliament decides to back this deal, because negotiations do require compromises and we have delivered on key promises to the communities of Northern Ireland by ensuring a deal which prevents the return of a hard border and protects the integrity of the UK’s internal market and Northern Ireland’s place within it."

Fran Sheridan: "When are you going to listen to Joe Public and realise that no deal really is the only deal to be done now?"

Stephen Barclay: "Fran, unfortunately I will have to disagree with you on this one. You may have seen the analysis we published last week - that is clear that no deal is certainly not the best bet for for our economy, and it would come with disruption and uncertainty.

"No deal is certainly not the only option; we now have a strong deal on the table that delivers on the referendum vote and that is, by far and away, the best way forward. Of course, being responsible we have planned for a range of options, but a no deal Brexit would definitely not be the outcome that is in the best interests of the people of Worcester or the rest of the UK."

Two questions put forward by readers were sent to Mr Barclay but not answered. One was from Sam Barriscale, who asked: "Will you still be Brexit Secretary by the time I've finished writing this question?" The other was from Paul Moreton. He asked: "If the government is sure that Mrs May has negotiated the best and only Brexit deal needing consideration prior to implementation, why is it not prepared to publish the legal advice it has received, underpinning the deal, so that those who have to make informed decisions about it can do so with the fullest, clearest and most open information?"