Saturday, 3 March 2018

Theresa May's Brexit double act

In her keynote Brexit speech on Friday, the Prime Minister Theresa May tried to pull a fast one on the British people and our European neighbours. 

She attempted to assert that as an ex-member of the EU, Britain could enjoy a better deal than the members of the EU.

It’s something that just a few months before the referendum, Mrs May acknowledged was not going to be possible.

In April 2016 she said in a keynote pro-Remain speech:

“It is not clear why other EU member states would give Britain a better deal than they themselves enjoy.”

She also said then, “The reality is that we do not know on what terms we would win access to the single market.”

And she added, “We do know that in a negotiation we would need to make concessions in order to access it, and those concessions could well be about accepting EU regulations, over which we would have no say, making financial contributions, just as we do now, accepting free movement rules, just as we do now, or quite possibly all three combined.”

Mrs May knows full well that what she wants for Britain after Brexit is simply impossible. Her so-called 'Road to Brexit' is going nowhere. What is she playing at?

She is acting like a vexatious ex-member of a discount store like Costco, demanding concessions, more discounts and freebies which no other member has and which, frankly, Britain doesn’t deserve.

The EU27 are united in their resolve to keep their Single Market intact, and Britain cannot just choose the bits it wants.

This was made abundantly clear when French President Emmanuel Macron visited England last year and said:

“If you want access to the Single Market - including the financial services - be my guest. But it means that you need to contribute to the budget and acknowledge European jurisdiction.

“Such are the rules, and we know the system already in place for Norway.”

He added, “There must be no hypocrisy in this respect, otherwise it will not work or we would destroy the Single Market and its coherence."

In summary, Mr Macron gave the same message as all the other EU member states, the European Parliament and the European Commission: to secure frictionless access to the Single Market Britain must pay into the EU budget and accept EU laws.

Of course, in negotiations you put on the table all you want in the hope that you will get at least some of it. But Mrs May’s expectations are so far from the table that she is making Britain the laughing stock of the world.

The only way to ensure that Britain continues to be a successful global trader is to remain a member of the EU, so that we can carry on freely trading with our closest and most important international customers and suppliers in Europe, and to trade across the rest of the world, just as we do now.
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