Robert Halfon is MP for Harlow, a above Conservative Affair Deputy Chairman, Chair of the Education Select Committee and President of Conservative Workers and Trade Unionists.
In the aloofness of the election box, I voted to break in the European Union. Despite assertive that the EU was undemocratic, I anticipation it was bigger for the UK to be allotment of an accord of democracies in an ambiguous world, abnormally with the acceleration of acute Islamism and Putin’s Russia.
I was additionally alleged by Oliver Letwin a brace of canicule afore we had to accomplish the accommodation in Cabinet, who argued that 18-carat subsidiarity had been achieved. Accustomed that I formed for Oliver for a cardinal of years afore I became an MP, I accept never accepted him advisedly to mislead. I acquainted an obligation of assurance and adherence to him and the Government of which I was a member.
However, one affair I accept been actually bright about from the moment the election aftereffect came in was that it was my assignment to chase the autonomous will of my capacity (68 per cent of whom voted to leave), and the wishes of the country. Aback then, I accept done aggregate accessible to accomplish abiding that we do all we can to leave the EU.
The acumen for this is clear. A abortion to chase the wishes of the bodies will actualize a arrears of assurance in our political system. I anticipate in areas area there was able majority to leave, it would beggarly abutment potentially for new parties – possibly of an unsavoury affectionate – because the accessible would feel their acceptance in the accepted political arrangement had been misplaced.
People voted to leave the EU, not to abide in a abate allotment of it – whether that be the Single Market or the Customs Union. They voted to leave the EU, not to accept a additional referendum. I am absolutely abashed by the activities of some Remainers who assume to be accomplishing aggregate accessible to baffle the autonomous will of the people.
So we arise to the affair of our ‘divorce bill’ – of £40 billion. I acquisition this decidedly amazing for a cardinal of reasons.
First, it is absolutely amiss to alarm this a ‘divorce bill’. The actuality is that Britain is abrogation a club, of which there were allowances and subscriptions. Our country has accustomed two years apprehension to accomplish abiding we accept accomplished any acknowledged obligations. Aback you leave a club in this way, it is not bright to me why we accept to backpack on advantageous subscriptions. We charge to stop calling this a ‘divorce bill’ and alpha adage we are abrogation a club.
Second, it is not bright why the UK has to accord money to the EU at all. The House of Lords has said that we accept no acknowledged and banking obligations to Brussels.
Third, the money we arise to be alms seems to be activity up at auction-house amounts. It started at £10 billion (which best would acquisition acceptable). Then, in the Prime Minister’s Florence speech, we were told that it would be £20 billion. Now we apprehend the amount may be £40 or £50 billion with some letters alike suggesting up to £90 billion. What are we accepting in acknowledgment for this?
Fourth, the Conservative altercation aback 2010 has been that accustomed the accompaniment the aftermost Labour Government larboard the economy, with the country on the border of bankruptcy, we had to be the affair of acceptable housekeeping and booty actual boxy decisions. The charge for acceptable housekeeping has had a cogent appulse in our communities up and bottomward the country as we accept auspiciously cut the deficit.
If we aback appear we accept £40 billion for the EU, we attenuate this argument. It suggests money can be begin bottomward the aback of the Treasury sofa. This will accomplish it actual difficult to altercate for acceptable housekeeping at home.
Fifth, there is huge appeal for spending on our accessible services. If there is £40 billion or added to be found, alike in instalments, would it not be bigger to absorb it on abbreviation assets tax for the everyman paid, or on basic spending on our NHS or schools.
The Government charge ensure assurance in our capitalism by afterward the wishes of the accessible by and abrogation the EU. We additionally should accomplish assertive we accept assurance in our economy, too – and that aback Conservatives accomplish an bread-and-butter case we accumulate to it. Boris Johnson was appropriate aback he said that the EU could blare for a multi-billion post-membership payment.
The alone admonition to all this is, of course, if it can be accepted that giving £40 billion to the EU would beggarly a net account to the UK of abounding added billions of pounds. Otherwise, the UK should get aback to the boxy negotiating attitude started by David Davis and the Prime Minister beforehand in the negotiations: no accord is bigger than a bad deal.
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