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The vote of the Brexiteers

Letter to the Times from Stephen Bush, published on 25th October 2018

As someone who canvassed in the streets, knocked on doors, fielded questions at public meetings and in the media, I can testify that those who supported leaving the EU were perfectly clear what they did NOT want from their vote (letters October 20th to 24th) , namely any continuation of the following: the right of 450 million EU citizens to move at will to settle in this country;  payments into the EU’s budget; the right of EU boats to fish in the UK’s internationally recognised waters; any role for EU courts in Britain’s internal affairs.

Mrs May’s failure to communicate these four simple conditions for the negotiations in a formal UK paper soon after sending her Article 50 notification on March 29th 2017, while the EU Council quite properly declared its own guidelines in its paper of 29th April 2017, is the root cause of the morass of muddle and uncertainty we are currently in.  Nobody of course foresaw that the EU’s negotiators would manufacture a problem over the Irish border, or that they and Mrs May’s advisors would propose carving up our country.

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Mrs May’s lack of leadership

Letter to The Sunday Times, published 15th October 2017.

You are absolutely right about the need for Britain to have a Brexit strategy independent of the EU negotiations.

Nothing is more likely to induce the EU to negotiate properly with Britain about trade and money than the prospect of losing unfettered access to what will be,  when Britain leaves the EU, its largest export market.   At the same time it would lose any prospect of our continuing to make an on-going contribution to their budgets.

Unfortunately Mrs May has given scant attention to the “walk-away” strategy if Monday’s latest White Papers (on trade and customs ) are anything to go by. These are largely repetitive confections of wish-lists to which the “stakeholders” are invited to make suggestions,  not  tightly thought out plans which would be the hallmarks of true leadership.

It took looming catastrophe before Chamberlain was replaced by Churchill in 1940. Mrs May needs to go now before another disaster overtakes us.


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European Court of Justice Jurisdiction

Letter to The Times, published Monday, 24th July 2017

Your correspondent in Brussels did well to ask Michel Barnier at his joint press conference with David Davis on the 20th July to name any country that accepted foreign jurisdiction on its territory. Not surprisingly Barnier couldn’t answer because there are none, not even from among the smallest countries in the United Nations, apart from those in the EU.

For the record, there are about 2 million EU nationals  resident in Canada (excluding British citizens) and 1.6 million EU nationals resident in Australia, together actually more than are resident in the UK.  There is no provision in the recent EU-Canada Trade agreement for the European Court of Justice to have jurisdiction over the rights of its citizens resident in Canada, nor did the EU negotiators ask for any.  Nor would Australia countenance such an infraction of its sovereignty.

It is high time that Mr. Davis said in public that the ECJ will not have any jurisdictional role in the United Kingdom after we have formally left in March 2019, so that negotiations can move on to more productive matters.

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No Supplicant Position

Letter to The Times, published on 11th February 2017

Your extract (10th February)  from a  government paper about negotiating priorities, reveals what can only be described as a supplicant approach to our fishing position post Brexit,  which may also apply to other industries.

After leaving the EU,  Britain as a sovereign power and signatory of the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea 1994 (UNCLOS) will automatically take over sole responsibility for all commercial rights, including fishing access and control of stocks, in its own Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)  of the Continental Shelf (the North Sea and English Channel principally). In this matter, there is nothing whatever  to negotiate about.

There is the matter of historic fishing by foreign countries such as Spain (since 1995 in their case) but we are not suppplicants.  The Civil Service negotiators should understand this. While there may well be some horse–trading  over fish stock management, the conditions to be applied to the continuation of foreign fishing in its EEZ are for Britain to decide, just as the EU and Norway will continue to do in theirs.

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