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Brexit

Why ‘exit from Brexit’ would be a disaster

LIAM HALLIGAN

Former leader of the Liberal Democrats and Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, has been leading a campaign to stop Brexit CREDIT: JUSTIN TALLI


The campaign to reverse Brexit is gathering pace, run by ultra-Remain MPs, peers and denizens of big corporations who, benefiting from the status quo, are determined to maintain it. While most still piously claim to “respect the referendum result”, some have broken ranks. They now admit, unashamedly, they want to upend the biggest vote in British history, before it’s even been implemented.

These Brexit negotiations are clearly tough. There are complications – not least as the European Union, a moribund, self-serving bureaucracy, is determined to make it difficult for Britain to leave. Pour décourager les autres. After all, without our hefty annual contributions, the EU is in serious financial trouble.

A rocky leaving negotiation, though, in no way justifies ignoring the result of a “once in a generation” referendum won by a margin of 1.3m people. “This is your decision” said the Government’s pro-Remain mailshot, sent to all 27m UK households just ahead of the June 2016 vote. “The Government will implement what you decide”.

As the Brexit-blockers’ confidence increases, the drumbeat for a second EU referendum gets louder

In 2015, Parliament passed a Referendum Act, with MPs voting six-to-one to delegate to the electorate the decision on EU membership. Then came the referendum – the result of which so shocked much of our political and media class. In February 2017, when an opportunistic legal challenge meant Parliament voted again on implementing Article 50, the Commons opted overwhelmingly to proceed. Then, in the June general election, both the Conservatives and Labour stood on a platform of leaving the EU, including the single market and customs union. Between them, they won 83pc of all votes.

Given all that, the polls show the public wants Brexit implemented quickly, with as little fuss as possible. The Tories’ slim majority, though, has energised those determined to scupper Brexit. Labour, meanwhile, is in constant flux – its policy no longer to “respect the referendum”, as per its June manifesto, but to sow confusion, doing or saying anything necessary to topple the Government.

Amid such chaos, big business, along with many professionals blindsided by Brexit, and furious they were outvoted, sense an opportunity. If Brexit can be made to look ghastly then perhaps the great unwashed can be scared into accepting a second vote. Then, with the broadcasting establishment on side and masses of campaign cash, we won’t need to leave the EU at all.

As the Brexit-blockers’ confidence increases, the drumbeat for a second EU referendum gets louder. A second Brexit referendum, though, would be an economic and political disaster. If one were agreed, the UK’s Article 50 negotiations would be destroyed. That’s because the EU would have every incentive to offer the UK the worst deal imaginable – making it more likely. In turn, the leaving terms would be rejected by the UK electorate, with Britain (and our money) staying in, exactly the outcome Brussels wants.

If, in contrast, the UK maintains we are definitely leaving the single market and customs union – a “Clean Brexit” strategy – with no question of a second referendum, the EU is then incentivised to strike agreeable terms, given the value of British markets to many EU exporters. After all, under World Trade Organisation rules, the trading regime UK-EU trade would use if no free-trade agreement is reached, EU exporters face tariffs when selling into the UK. As long as Britain’s clear and unequivocal destination is a Clean Brexit, then, commercial interests across Europe will push EU politicians to strike a UK free-trade deal.

The prospect of a “Soft Brexit”, with the UK staying in the single market and customs union, stops that political dynamic from happening, much to the UK’s economic detriment. Involving continued annual payments, ongoing freedom of movement and EU legal jurisdiction, it also isn’t Brexit. If a second referendum is agreed, likewise, with a default of reverting to EU membership, the resulting chronic uncertainty would destroy EU incentives to strike any kind of trade deal with the UK, or assist in any Brexit-related arrangements – maximising “cliff-edge” dangers.

A second referendum would seriously prolong business uncertainty. If voters reject “the deal”, what then happens? Would there be another negotiation process and yet another referendum? The best of three, perhaps, or five? The British political system would become paralysed by splits, confusion and endemic rancour. Financial markets would factor in ongoing uncertainty and instability, seriously undermining sterling, equities and the broader business environment.

The fall in the pound since the June 2016 referendum has arguably helped the economy. But a sharp drop, reflecting a chronic loss of confidence in political decision-making, would be unequivocally bad, causing a genuine inflation spike. Under these circumstances, the UK could lose its hard-won reputation as a relative haven of stability. And if Brexit were reversed, our subsequent EU membership could be on far worse terms – with no rebate and perhaps no opt-out from the single currency.

This weekend, after huge criticism from all sides, the Government deserves credit for reaching an important Brexit milestone. Those agitating for a second referendum – from Knightsbridge hotels and elsewhere – need to be called out. Their arguments are not only self-serving and anti-democratic. They’re also disastrous for Britain.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/12/09/exit-brexit-would-disaster/

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3 Comments on "Why ‘exit from Brexit’ would be a disaster"

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C A Dark
Guest

I have a feeling that a lot of people are actually serious about voting for Corbyn, if only to punish the Tories and bring their slippery little games to a halt. Talk about being between the devil and the deep blue sea…

Margaret Robinson
Guest

So the elete threaten us with their financial and elitist backing. We can threaten too if only our people would get together with one voice and tell them if they continue we will all commit ourselves to voting Labour at the next election. Big business fear Corbyn as much if not more than brexit

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