DAILY Echo readers were invited to put their questions and concerns about Brexit to the new Secretary of State.

We sent your questions, along with those submitted by the Daily Echo, to Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay.

Ahead of a crucial vote about Theresa May’s Brexit deal on December 11, here are the responses

Q Working in Bournemouth at the European HQ of a large American company, what assurances can you give to protect jobs like mine?

A "This deal is really important for people like you that are working for a foreign-owned company, because businesses need certainty. The deal means there’s no cliff edge in March, and during the Implementation Period trade will continue on current terms so businesses only have to face one set of changes. Companies can spend time putting the necessary arrangements in place before we leave, to keep satellite offices running as easily as they do now. It’s also hugely important that the UK economy stays in a strong-enough position to attract investment from overseas, and that’s what this deal delivers by ensuring we can continue to access EU markets as well as making trade deals that work for the UK and our partners overseas."

Q Why is the government and Prime Minister trying to sell the current Brexit deal to the public when the public doesn't have a vote on the outcome?

A "It is only right that the people of the UK know what this deal is and how it delivers on what people voted for. What we are trying to do is make sure the information is out there - I feel it is my responsibility as a politician to make sure the public knows what is going on in their democracy. This is a deal that has taken two years of intense negotiation to reach. It respects the referendum and delivers on a lot of the key asks like having a skill-based immigration system and taking control of our waters and fisheries, while protecting jobs and ensuring we have good security cooperation. That is what we are seeking to communicate."

Bournemouth Echo:

Picture: Press Association

Q Many residents of Dorset young and not so young take advantage of freedom of movement to work while travelling around Europe. These are often low paid jobs that would not be skills exempt from future immigration controls. And the short term visa idea is a non starter as it means the job and new life could be cut short after just 11 months. How will taking away these freedoms enrich the lives of Dorset residents?

A "First things first, we are not closing the doors to the UK. What we are doing is delivering a skills-based immigration system that works for the country. That’s not about pulling up the drawbridge, but it does mean we can decide how many people come to the UK and ensure we have the right people for the right jobs. I know that many people, young and old, will want to continue to travel to the EU after we leave. Our agreement on the future means that they’ll be able to do this, with no visa needed for short term visits. And the deal means that we can decide with the EU ways that people can travel to the EU to study, take part in research, training and youth exchanges."

Q The 60 second Government video states that under the proposed deal we will make no more big payments to the EU. Once we have paid the hefty divorce settlement, what further payments do we have to make to the EU, what are they for, how much are they for and how long do we have to pay them for?

A "Milan, paying the financial settlement means the UK paying its fair share based on commitments we made as a member. That’s the right thing to do - we’ve always been a country that meets its obligations. Negotiations have ensured that this will include our rebate - an important discount we currently receive on our membership - just one of the agreements we’ve reached to ensure a fair deal for UK taxpayers. It’s less than half of the sum than many originally suggested. And going forward we will have a choice about what we pay into: basically, we will pay for things we want to be involved in that benefit our country."

Q As we live in a parliamentary democracy why are we following the result of an advisory referendum? It is your job as parliamentarians to decide if we need to be members of an economic union and as the public it is ours to vote for you if we decide you are not following our best interests. Given that Brexit is now obviously not in the best interests of the country why are you still following this path ?

A "I think it’s a trust issue. You don’t ask a question and then ignore the answer. The referendum was the largest ever democratic exercise in the UK’s history and as an MP I cannot stress how important I think it is to respect the will of the people and defend democracy. At the heart of this is the unwritten contract between Members of Parliament and the public who elected them. It would be a betrayal of democracy to ask the public a question in this way and then ignore them and tell them they are wrong. As a Brexiteer, my position on the referendum is pretty obvious, but however people voted, now is the time to unite behind the deal which is going to provide the best future for our country."

Q Why is the Government determined to make the country worse off by pushing ahead with Brexit, when the Leave campaign was so clearly based on lies and misinformation? Why not ask the people what they want to do in light of information made available over the past two years?

A "A choice was put to the people of the UK in the 2016 referendum and their decision was to leave. People turned out in record numbers - there has never been a bigger act of democracy in the UK - and that is something to celebrate rather than dismiss. It would be plain wrong to ignore the result, and we’ve been clear that there will be no second referendum. And we now have a deal with the EU that delivers on the referendum, will help our economy continue to prosper and will keep us safe - I’d hope that was a deal the nation can unite behind."

Q If the Government cannot reach an agreement, can the public expect to have a real say "for" or "against" signing this deal....?

A "The people had a say when they took part in biggest democratic exercise this country has ever known. It is important that we deliver on the vote. We are now doing as the people instructed and delivering on the result of the referendum. Any second referendum would be a betrayal of democracy - we cannot, and should not, ignore what people voted for in the referendum. It’s also worth noting that the vast majority of people voted for parties which committed to delivering Brexit in their manifestos in last year’s general election."

Bournemouth Echo:

Q There are two choices: May’s deal or go out without a deal. Can the minister guarantee that as and when the present deal is rejected by parliament that we will leave the E.U. on the 29 March 2019, saving £39bn, make our own laws, control our own borders make our own trade deals which is what the majority voted for in the June 2016 referendum?

A "You are quite right, those are the two choices facing us. I can assure you that we will be delivering on the vote of the people and leaving the European Union. But let’s be clear, as our analysis last week showed, no deal is not the best outcome for the UK. And it would come with additional disruption and uncertainty. That’s why as someone who campaigned for Brexit, I’m backing this deal which delivers on the results of the referendum."

Q Leaving the EU meant that we would be totally free of all their rules, regulations, customs union, courts etc and we would be free to make our own decisions, negotiate trade deals around the world (including the EU) from day 1 of our liberated freedom. Mrs May's plan does not give us this scenario and drags us into their control for 2 or more years. Where did the Government go so wrong in letting the British people down without the hint of a fight?

A "This deal does deliver on the results of the referendum. I campaigned and voted for Brexit and I am very happy to support it because it delivers. This is a hard-won deal that is the product of almost two years of tough negotiations. And it is a good deal, and to suggest the UK has caved is just plain wrong - as with any negotiation, there was movement on both sides. For example, on the Withdrawal Agreement, the EU originally demanded ECJ jurisdiction over the whole agreement, instead we have agreed that any disputes will be resolved by both the UK and the EU or, when we cannot agree, by an independent arbitration panel. Also, this deal is unprecedented because it creates a free trade area for goods with no tariffs or quotas across the board. This is the first such agreement between an advanced economy and the EU and something that took tough negotiation. And on the implementation period, it makes good sense because it gives us all time to adapt to our long-term future relationship with the EU."

Bournemouth Echo:

Q Having read the 585 pages of the so-called 'Draft Brexit Deal' it very quickly became apparent that this was not a deal at all and it is certainly not leaving the EU which is what people voted for. [...] Does this Tory government have such contempt for the British people that they are willing to push forward an agreement that will give the EU the means to punish us all for ever wanting to leave the EU?

A "I have to respectfully disagree with your views. As a Brexiteer I believe this deal delivers on what people across the country voted for - 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. It respects the referendum and delivers on a lot of the key asks like having a skill-based immigration system and taking control of our fishing, while protecting jobs and ensuring we have good security cooperation. For the first time in more than 40 years it gives our country the opportunity to control our own laws, decide who lives and works in this country and the ability to strike independent and ambitious trade deals. This is a hard-won deal that is the product of almost two years of tough negotiations. As with any negotiation, there was movement on both sides. For example, the EU was originally opposed to permitting an all-UK backstop. Now we have one."

Q This deal will not get passed by parliament. Seeing as there is no plan B ( there wasn't a plan A) are you prepared to start from square 1 with a more acceptable deal for all?

A "Nobody should be under any illusions that the EU will be prepared to start all over again and negotiate a different deal. Anything other than straightforward approval of the deal will bring with it huge uncertainty for business, consumers and citizens. And as a committed Brexiteer, I wouldn’t have backed the deal on the table if I didn’t believe it delivered on the result of the referendum. We listened to what people across the country voted for: they wanted free movement to end, annual payments to the EU to end, and for us to make our own laws. In each of these crucial areas, the deal delivers."

Q Can he provide an example of any other modern government pursuing a policy that, by its own admission, will result in their country and the vast majority of its citizens being worse off? And if he can't why does he think this is and why are we alone in pursuing this course of action?

A "The country voted to leave, so we will deliver on that. And this deal is the best deal for this country, when it comes to protecting jobs and our economy, as well as allowing us to honour the referendum and realise the opportunities of Brexit. It provides an implementation period to provide time to adapt, a free trade deal with the EU, and the ability to strike trade deals around the world. It means we can deliver a skill-based immigration system that works for the UK, come out of the CAP and Common Fisheries Policy and make our own laws in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast which will be enforced by the UK’s courts. It also allows us to carve our own way in the world and set our own path once again - I don’t call that worse off."

Bournemouth Echo:

Q Brittany Ferries has said the port of Poole could lose nearly a third of its lorry movements to France if there are extra checks on trucks carrying refrigerated and natural products under a no-deal Brexit. Can you offer any reassurance?

A "We don’t want or expect no deal, and I am keen to avoid any confusion between the risks and uncertainty that come with no deal and the clear benefits of the deal we have negotiated. The deal includes an implementation period that will keep lorries moving, serving as a bridge to our future trading relationship and preventing any of the worrying scenarios you might have heard mentioned. Beyond that, we’re working to achieve an unprecedented new free trade area without tariffs, fees, charges or volume restrictions on goods. And while it is not something we want nor expect, we are ready for no deal - after two years of preparation we have plans in place to avoid disruption where possible and mitigate it where not."

Bournemouth Echo:

Q Dorset’s hospitality industry, as well as major employers such as Lush, relies heavily on workers from mainland Europe who are deemed “unskilled”. How are they going to find enough staff when they’re already finding it difficult?

A "The people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the EU. And ending uncontrolled free movement was a key part of that. Now we’re creating a new skills-based immigration system. That doesn’t mean pulling up the drawbridge, that means putting something in place designed to meet the UK’s needs, and listening to companies’ concerns about their labour force is part of that. Also, we have put citizens’ rights at the heart of these negotiations and what that means for people who have chosen to make their lives and livelihoods here is that they are very welcome to continue to do so - we want them to stay - and that includes people already working in the hospitality sector or for companies like Lush."

Bournemouth Echo:

Q Financial services is one of our big employers, with 4,000 staff at JP Morgan in Bournemouth. What would the withdrawal agreement do to protect that sector?

A "I think it is really important that we recognise this is not a London issue, as some would have you believe. As a former “City Minister” at the Treasury I know that’s nonsense, as Bournemouth goes to show. Companies like JP Morgan have put their weight behind the local community, and we’re matching that commitment with our promise to forge ambitious new arrangements across financial services."