Britain Will Not Leave The Single Market


For a wide variety of reasons that have been rehearsed time after time on this and other Leave Alliance blogs, the UK will not leave the Single Market at the point of EU exit. This is driven by sound political and economic concerns and, if we can be serious about the subject of risk for a moment, a botched EU exit would not be in anybody’s interests.

Two-years is too short a time frame to agree anything other than an EEA-oriented deal and EU leaders will not offer anything else. Given the make-up of the current UK Parliament, British MPs are unlikely to accept any other exit deal either.

Further evidence of this comes in the form of Stronger In’s latest piece of campaign news. “Brexit would hit UK growth and impede foreign investment,” the headline shrieks. What follows is a letter signed by a group of multinational executives.

Now, as much as I can often be heard saying that how and by whom Britain is governed is no business of business (which it isn’t), some of what the letter says is worth reiterating. This part in particular:

Recent suggestions that the UK should leave the single market if it exits the EU are particularly concerning and potentially hugely damaging. According to surveys, almost three-quarters of foreign investors cite access to the EU’s single market as a key reason for their investment in Britain.

Note that their primary concern is access to the Single Market, not the EU*. This part of the letter is almost identical to something that former Google CEO now Alphabet Executive Chairman, Dr Eric Schmidt, said in January, which I referred to at the time as a potential teachable moment for the “leave” campaign.

Regrettably, Vote Leave refused to learn that lesson and has since gone into what looks like full on self-destruct mode. That, to my mind, is all the more reason to ignore Vote Leave. We are not voting to elect the Vote Leave Party, we are voting to Leave the EU and, as has been broadly outlined during the debate, the UK government would have very few options should the “leave” side win the referendum. The future is uncertain—don’t you just love the way the Remain campaign repeats that tautology with such nursery freshness?—but that does not mean that the plausibility scope is limitless.

That is why leaving the EU is safe. Far safer than remaining subordinate to a set of supranational institutions committed to a political union from which our Prime Minister claims to have excluded Britain. As I have asked several, ordinarily very vocal Remainers on Twitter, “What is Britain’s role inside the EU outside of the euro and outside of political union?” Answers come there none.

Whereas outside the EU, Britain could play a full role in developing and shaping the multilateral trading system, working alongside similarly-minded partners such as Australia and New Zealand, playing ‘honest broker’ to the USA and the EU. It will be entirely safe to do so and we know this because the Remain side keep telling us that any deal that involves leaving the Single Market would be politically risky and economically uncertain. The UK government and their EU counterparts are nothing if not risk-averse. They will be reluctant to change anything, but a vote to leave will force the UK government to take Britain out of the EU’s political and judicial arrangements.

That is why we will leave the EU but remain in the Single Market, repatriating the entire body of EU law, while putting policy control back under direct supervision of the British people via the UK Parliament. The real revolution will centre not on the deal that we do with Brussels but on the way in which we are governed here—real domestic reform, top to bottom.

Leave the EU, keep the Single Market.

* As an aside, never mind that any such “uncertainty” would last all of two seconds (if that) as the government came clean about the fact that leaving the EU would not mean leaving the Single Market, I do find it funny to see these buccaneering business types suddenly adopting the pose of frightened little children hiding behind Mummy’s skirt, desperate to avoid the “uncertainty” associated with democracy and accountable government. Remember, they’re doing it all out of their earnest concern for the well-being and future prosperity of the British people…

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