Sir William Cash @ The Times’s Red Box: “Remainers voted in the referendum to stay within an EU that has profoundly deepened politically, economically and constitutionally from what the UK originally joined — and particularly after Maastricht in 1992, which created European government, with ever increased competencies up to Lisbon in 2008.
Supporters of “soft” Brexit fail to articulate how this would implement the decision of the British people, including the repeal of the European Communities Act 1972, which is the anchor of the referendum vote itself. All EU treaties and laws cease to have effect in the UK under the EU Withdrawal Act 2018. The Lisbon Treaty Act 2008 enacts, as the prime minster confirms, a two-year timeline for the government to reach a withdrawal agreement or there is no deal. This is the law of the land. An extension of time under the many Cooper-Boles bills could cost the taxpayer up to £12.1bn and take us nowhere.
Remaining in the single market and the customs union is totally inconsistent with the repeal of the 1972 act and the Conservative and Labour manifestos of 2017. Remaining in both of them would capitulate to multinationals and contradicts the objective of our securing an independent global trade policy. Those who favour a Norway EEA/EFTA style future relationship are deeply divided among themselves. The case for a second referendum has all but collapsed.
What Remain voters supported in 2016 is not now on offer. Emmanuel Macron and Jean-Claude Juncker have outlined proposals to centralise and concentrate further and deeper powers in the future EU, including setting a single budget across the eurozone under the direction of a single euro finance minister and there are even proposals for a financial transaction tax. The Treaty of Aachen signed last month between France and Germany is a further step towards the creation of one country called Europe. Macron proposes a central integrated defence capability as a precursor for a full-blown EU army, with which British armed forces would co-operate even after our exit from the EU.
The UK will legally leave the EU on March 29 with the repeal of the 1972 Act under the Withdrawal Act 2018. We must face the facts about what hardcore Remainers insist on our rejoining, not to mention the cost. This would mean the end of Margaret Thatcher’s 1984 rebate, which is worth £92m a week and being “forced” to join the euro. Even the CBI could not justify that.
Furthermore, leaving the EU means we regain control over our own laws, we end freedom of movement and we are able to trade globally on our own terms. There will be no more contributions and no control over state aid by the European Commission, no Charter of Fundamental Rights and no European Court of Justice.
The EU has developed an undemocratic governance system, which is hopelessly unaccountable with decision-making behind closed doors and without transcripts. Its law-making, consisting of the commission, council, and European Parliament, is dominated by groups with inadequate oversight. The most powerful are the “trilogue” negotiating groups, and Coreper (the committee of permanent representatives to the EU). With its exclusive power to initiate legislation, the unelected Commission — unlike Westminster, with its daily Hansard and records of votes — is a travesty of transparent decision-making. Europe’s highest law-making authority, the council of ministers, meets secretly and bans note-taking. How could anyone possibly want to rejoin this undemocratic behemoth?
In the European Parliament, the UK is most often on the losing side. It is dominated by Germany who have an ever-increasing number of the top jobs in the commission. In the council of ministers, qualified majority voting prevails and is generally displaced by consensus. Germany (with its eurozone allies) wins the most votes; the biggest loser is again the UK, consistently outvoted on issues of major national interest such as regulation for the City.
This EU is an accelerating political union. It is a stagnating economy, increasingly being rejected by voters all over Europe including Italy, France, Sweden, Austria, Hungary, Poland and others. Sir Paul Lever, our distinguished former ambassador to Germany, in his recent award-winning book, Berlin Rules, describes this EU as a “German Europe” where the Commission seeks Germany’s view before it makes proposals to the European Council and European Parliament — which will include the arrangements for the UK’s negotiations for withdrawal — and where it is now “virtually impossible” to secure significant change in Europe without Germany’s support.
This is the supranational entity that Remainers and reversers are so desperate for us to rejoin. They would tear up the referendum vote and the repeal of the 1972 act and their own recent votes for the EU Referendum Act itself and the EU Withdrawal Act. This is the ultimate abandonment of democratic and parliamentary responsibility. Under Cooper-Boles, they would even trample on our system of parliamentary government by engineering government by parliament.
The last time this was tried was in the 17th century, followed by implosion under Oliver Cromwell. Under the withdrawal agreement, which was defeated by 230 votes on 15 January, Article 4 (stating that the agreement and consequent laws should have the same effect in the UK as in EU member states) would humiliatingly and dangerously subjugate us to EU law-making of the other 27, putting us at the mercy of our competitors and causing havoc and uncertainty for British businesses and workers. This is the undemocratic legacy, which their current campaign in parliament would leave to future generations.”