Hayes in the House: We need to leave - no ifs, no buts...
We must leave the European Union lock, stock and barrel. No ifs, no buts.
It’s almost three years since, along with 17.4 million others, I voted in the referendum to leave - in defence of sovereignty, national identity and independence. As the people of our Kingdom were told then that they were making a once in a lifetime decision, it came as no surprise that the recent Euro elections became a vehicle for frustrated voters to protest. Their voices must now be heard. Parliament has a duty to honour the referendum’s outcome – to do otherwise would be a breach of trust.
Given that liberating our nation from the EU’s convoluted, supranational bureaucracy was never going to be easy, when in the coming days a mix of clever dicks and crackpots condemn Theresa May, I will not be joining them. She deserved better than the nefarious games played by those on the continent and in the liberal left establishment here determined to steal Brexit from the people.
Nevertheless, she was right to resign. It is now clear that fresh, decisive leadership is required to break the impasse and move our nation forward – and this time our Conservative leader must be an authentic Brexiteer.
Alongside the new Prime Minister, a different EU Commission presents a valuable window of opportunity, providing a chance of a renewed agreement which delivers on the result of the referendum and honours the will of the people.
As I have reiterated throughout negotiations, I want a deal to take back control - securing our sovereignty, protecting our national borders and ending free movement. Similarly, I have been equally clear that the date of our withdrawal should not be perpetually postponed – voting against every proposed extension to article 50.
However, if a decent deal cannot be reached, the UK must leave the EU regardless, unphased by the apocalyptic predictions about the consequences of trading on WTO terms propagated by elements in the media, short-sighted politicians and self-centred special interest groups. Thankfully, the British people are too wise to fall for the same sort of prophecies of doom that were peddled by the so called ‘expert class’ during the referendum.
The notion that the world’s fifth biggest economy could not flourish outside of the stagnating European Union is ludicrous. We must grasp this golden opportunity, by reaching out to our commonwealth allies and forging relationships with vibrant, developing economies.
Meanwhile, the UK and EU would, doubtless, reach a range of bilateral agreements to ensure collaboration in our mutual interest. Such agreements could replicate existing arrangements that other nations currently enjoy with the European Union. What’s more, much of the work done since the referendum has laid the foundations for an orderly and prosperous post-Brexit relationship.
It’s all too easy to divide voters into antagonistic camps. Instead, we should respect the millions of decent Britons who voted to remain, but acknowledge the pressing need to respect the referendum’s result by leaving the EU as soon as possible; they are our allies in the fight for democracy.
But as for those unreconstructed remainers - the bad losers so used to getting their own way that they are prepared to risk political mayhem to do so - there can be no excuses, and no compromises.