27 SEP 2018

We need to believe in Britain and deliver Brexit

Leaving the EU must mean just that. That we take back control of our laws, money, borders and trade. That's why the Prime Minister must chuck Chequers and seek a free trade deal – and be fully prepared to do a World Trade deal if necessary. We must make it clear to the EU that we won't be bullied.

Why did the nation vote to leave? Because they believed in better. They believed in the kind of country we can build, where everyone has the chance to get on and succeed. Where we are free to run our own laws and our own economy in a way that works best for us – not Brussels.

The Chequers proposals put forward by the Prime Minister fail to honour the referendum mandate. We would be out of Europe yet still run by Europe. And it is now clear that Chequers doesn't work for the EU either.

What's more, the Chequers proposals would be bad for Britain. We would be tied to EU rules forever. We would never be truly independent. We would be saddled with regulations that work for other countries and protect big businesses from competition. These rules are also bad for hard working taxpayers, as they allow giant corporations to dodge taxes. They are bad for shoppers as they increase the cost of food and clothing to protect inefficient EU businesses. Nor would we be able to boost our economy through free trade deals with other nations. Chequers would not just be a bad deal. It would make our country poorer in the long term.

That's why the Prime Minister must now change course. This week the independent experts at the Institute for Economic Affairs set out the sort of free trade deal the Government should look for. A deal that honours the referendum mandate and enables us to depart the EU as friends.

That would leave us free to build a better Britain. One where we can scrap import taxes on goods we don't produce ourselves, so lowering prices for shoppers. Regulations that work for us and boost jobs and money. A fair immigration system seeking the skills we need equally from the EU or anywhere else in the world. And when it comes to Northern Ireland, we would agree to undertake all necessary investment and co-operation, so everything can be done away from the Irish border.

Last week's failed Salzburg summit underlined the disdain the EU has for us. Their insulting and immature behaviour shows it may not be possible to get an agreement before we leave. What we must not do is beg for more time. It will make us look pathetic and weak. Instead, we should be ready to leave under a World Trade deal that would save taxpayers from having the stump up the £39 billion divorce bill. To strengthen our hand, we should turbocharge preparations, so we are ready on day one, deal or no deal.

The EU referendum was the biggest vote in British history. Some 17.4 million people voted to take back control of our laws, borders, money and trade. The Government must now deliver on the referendum mandate by chucking Chequers and seeking a free trade deal with the EU.


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Charlie Elphicke

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