LETTER: We will be Brexit in name only

Derbyshire Dales MP Sir Patrick McLoughlin, has not told us what relationship he would like to have with Europe after Brexit.

Monday, 18th December 2017, 1:27 pm
Updated Monday, 18th December 2017, 1:30 pm

In my view that is probably because he would like us to end up exactly where we are now. According to current opinion polls, that puts him in line with the majority of voters.

Instead it now looks as though the UK is going to end up outside the European Union, but (more or less) inside the single market and the customs union.

In effect, we are going to have ‘BINO’ - ‘Brexit In Name Only’. We are going to pay a fortune for the privilege of having a less good deal than the one we now have.

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A free trade agreement can provide no answer to the problem of the Northern Ireland border if we leave the customs union, and it’s a mystery why Brexiteers still claim it could. Only membership of the customs union can provide barrier-free trade on the island of Ireland.

If there was another answer, it would have been found by now.

Brexiteers will not be able to support such a useless arrangement for very long. Michael Gove is already tiptoeing away from it. Of course alignment with the EU customs union will make it impossible for the UK to cut our own deals with China, America, India and the rest.

The fury of Nigel Farage, who is talking of a national humiliation, will surely be shared by some right-wing Conservatives, and UKIP may well soon be on the march once again.

And so this would be the perfect moment for Sir Patrick to speak out for the decent portion of the Conservative Party that is currently under siege.

As chairman of the party and a cabinet member he must now declare, loudly and clearly, that while a ‘useless’ Brexit is of course better than a ‘no deal’ Brexit, which is still a dreadful possibility, by far the best approach is not leaving the EU at all.

And indeed this is what most people currently think. A small majority now want to stay inside the EU. A larger majority want a second referendum.

Over the coming weeks we shall see those majorities grow as people see what a total waste of time and money and national influence Brexit is going to be.

Wouldn’t it be great if Sir Patrick were to be leading public opinion on this?

Ian Wood

Derbyshire Dales Green Party