Horsham MP Jeremy Quin rightly respects the outcome of the EU Referendum, in which 400 out of 650 constituencies voted to leave the EU.
But how does he view ‘hard’, and ‘soft’ Brexit options, what do they mean to him and will they distract him?
Theresa May has said that on completion of Brexit, the UK will no longer be under ECJ jurisdiction and so called ‘soft’ Brexit debates should not be allowed to prejudice that. Indeed, we might expect all of her MPs to fully support her aim, through the twists and turns of negotiation, including departure from the single market.
To recap. The previous PM wanted to remain in a ‘reformed EU’, but the EU only reforms in the direction of its chosen destination, which is full political and fiscal union. Now the new French President has put his full weight behind that.
In fact, nothing has happened since the referendum, to persuade Brexiteers to stay on the EU train, as it travels towards that destination. Many still want laws to be proposed by MPs accountable to us, rather than by unelected EU officials.
Surely the challenge now is to obtain the best possible deal with the EU, while removing the UK from EU jurisdiction, avoiding subjective terms such as ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ Brexit, which are not helpful. Indeed, we were told that a vote to leave the EU would mean leaving the Single Market, thereby freeing us from stifling EU regulations.
But from a trade point of view, if we don’t impose tariffs on imports from the SM and the EU reciprocates, then they would benefit most. Why? Because we import around £50bn pa more in value from them, than they do from us. Also the cost of UK imports from countries beyond the EU will reduce, once we leave the Customs Union.
So as yet, no one has placed a value on the Single Market, which might offset the enormous direct and indirect costs imposed on the UK, if it remains subject to EU Regulations. Since there is unlikely to be a net benefit, we don’t even need to think about staying in the SM.
Of course many countries trade successfully with the Single Market but are not in it, while UK exports to it have fallen to around 40 per cent. Also, the majority of UK companies don’t export to the EU, but have to comply with EU regulations.
So let’s not be hung up on (soft Brexit) red herrings. It is the other herrings that we should be more concerned with, ie the return of a fishing industry!
So Jeremy, please don’t be distracted by ‘hard and soft’ Brexit debates. Let’s get off the EU train, before it takes us to the wrong destination.
UKIP parliamentary candidate for Horsham, Melrose Place, Storrington
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