Hayes in the House: Brexit options
The people of south Lincolnshire know where I stand on Brexit. Central to my political convictions are a desire to empower local communities; to protect the sovereignty of our nation state; and to maintain the characteristic institutions, culture and civil society that makes us who we are.
So, on June 23, 2016 I was filled with optimism, as victory for the Leave campaign was delivered against the odds. Working people rejected the misinformation spread by the elitist ‘expert class’, with many inspired first time voters grasping the opportunity for meaningful change.
Whilst freeing ourselves from the onerous bureaucracy and complicated legal framework of supranational governance was never going to be easy, the prospects for renewed prosperity and our national destiny are considerable.
As many constituents will be aware, I voted against the Prime Minister’s deal in January. Making clear in this newspaper that I could not support a settlement that did not take back control of our laws, end free movement and deliver a definite exit from the EU. Whilst Mrs May’s deal largely ensures we take back control of our borders and law-making, the prospect of an indefinite Irish backstop or a long transition period would mean that a clean break could not be guaranteed.
With less than a month until our planned departure from the EU, three options prevail.
An amended deal: I remain hopeful that the Prime Minister will return from ongoing negotiations with meaningful and substantive assurances regarding the UK’s right to unilaterally leave any backstop. If such changes are made, voting for the deal is the most sensible and responsible way to guarantee Brexit, honouring the result of the referendum. Once we have officially withdrawn on March 29, we can work to deliver the best possible outcomes.
A managed no deal: I have been disappointed, but not surprised, by the misinformation peddled by the liberal media and special interest groups regarding our departure from the EU with no deal agreed. Contrary to apocalyptic predictions of collapse following a return to global trade on World Trade Organisation terms, the Prime Minister is correct to state that a managed ‘no deal’ could be made to work in our national interest.
At the very least, the UK and EU would reach certain bilateral agreements to ensure continuity across a range of areas, allowing the continuation of relationships and the delivery of services clearly in mutual interests. Such arrangements could be concluded quickly, replicating existing agreements. Even if there were some small delays or disagreements, the outline of a free trade agreement could be signed by March 2019, with negotiations over the content could continuing over the transition period.
Nevertheless, there is a possibility of some short-term disruption and for this reason, I have concluded that the Prime Minister’s deal – if amended satisfactorily - is preferable.
An extension of Article 50: For those who want to frustrate the patriotic will of the people in favour of their own elitist self-interest, the endless extension of article 50 is the means of stealing Brexit. Parliament overwhelmingly voted for March 29 as the date that we would withdraw from the EU and endlessly extending the deadline would improve nothing. For many ‘unreconstructed remainers’ it is a cynical device concocted to push an ethically unacceptable second referendum. MPs must work hard and fast to ensure that all legislation necessary to facilitate our departure from the EU.
My final decision has been made. Should the Prime Minister secure changes, enabling us to unilaterally withdraw from the Irish backstop, I will vote for her deal. If the EU refuses to provide such concessions, no deal is the default position. Resisting any significant extension to article 50 is what my constituents rightly expect of me. After all, three quarters of those that voted in the referendum backed Brexit.
We must now plan our national independence day. The glorious day when, at last, our hopeful aspirations for all that our Kingdom can be are reborn.