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Brighton and Hove Liberal Democrats

Let the people decide Brexit once we know what the terms are

March 14, 2018 12:00 PM
By Hyder Khalil

The latest speeches are done, the positions are allegedly clearer. Our Prime Minister has still not been fully set out the UK's requirements, but while rowing back on some issues, she still offers 'great deals' all over the world, some elements of co-operation, free movement and so on. So let us consider four points:

1. Trade deals:

i) Firstly with the EU27. As a member of any club, you are going to get better benefits than any available to any outsider. So it will be a little worse, but apparently we will make that up with the freedom to do deals all over the world.

ii) So put yourself in the other fellow's shoes (something our government seem to find difficult):

a. America - yeah, right - with Trump's recent tariff impositions and 'America First'
approach, would you bet on a fantastic deal?

b. Then, India. They have said what they want - more and easier visas. But that would increase immigration (ruled out) so there are many difficulties in the way of progress.

c. China and other big markets. Sitting in China's position (or one of the others) you have the opportunity to do a deal with a bloc of 450+ million people, or of 65 million. Which would you prioritise - and which would you consider best for your own interests?

d. Small markets - perhaps easy, but so what?

iii) We already have deals with 50+ non-EU markets as part of the EU - why go it alone?

2. But it's not all about trade. Particularly in Brighton & Hove, but nationally as well, we are a service-based economy. How about:

a. Education

b. Research

c. Tourism

d. Commercial co-operation to produce better goods / services

e. IT and related services e.g. games software, where we have a leading position

f. Financial, legal, consultancy, design etc

g. Cross-border police co-operation to catch criminals on the run (remember the Forrest case - the Eastbourne teacher who ran away with a schoolgirl? Caugh through the European Arrest Warrant)

3. Let's not forget Ireland. The PM fudged this. There either is a border or there isn't. If there isn't there is free movement throughout 28 countries via Ireland (unless the Irish take over our Border Control!). If there is, it is either on land, or in the Irish Sea. Which is it?

4. We had a referendum in 1975 to ask - remain or leave. Harold Wilson, PM at the time, agreed to it, but said (on more than one occasion) 'let's look at the terms first'. No referendum till we all knew what the deal was. So, why not the same now? Let's look at the terms (once agreed), and their implications, and then decide if we like them or not. If the people like them, accept it and leave. If not, then rescind invocation of Article 50 and stay.

But let the people decide once we know.