As noted in the previous post, my MP, Mark Harper, responded to my three recent letters about Brexit. Here is the letter I have sent in reply.
Dear Mark Harper,
I’m writing to thank you for your careful and detailed letter of 3rd December, in response to mine regarding Brexit. I appreciate your having taken time to address my specific points rather than simply sending a form-letter restating Government policy.
I agree completely with your analysis of the three reasons that the public voted, albeit very narrowly, to leave the European union:
1. Stop paying the EU vast sums of money.
2. Ensure our laws are made in Parliament.
3. Make sure we control our own immigration policy.
But there is an unhappy irony at work: as we all now realise (but as most of us did not before the vote), leaving the European Union — especially on the terms of the deal agreed by Theresa May’s team — will not deliver these benefits.
We know that the money currently paid to the EU is a drop in the bucket compared with the loss of national wealth that will result from withdrawal, as emphatically demonstrated by multiple economic analyses — including not only those of NIESR and the LSE’s Centre for Economic Performance, but also of the Government itself.
We know that under the terms of the backstop, and of almost all versions of the projected future relationship, The UK will have less rather than more control over its own laws, forced to follow laws made in Brussels over which we will no longer have any influence.
And we now understand far better than we did two years ago that the terms of Freedom of Movement have always allowed us much more control over immigration from the EU27 than we have exercised — because successive Home Offices have understood that the economic and cultural benefits of such immigration greatly outweight the costs. If the UK were to decide to remain in the EU under its present terms, it would remain the case that we have the power if we wish to greatly reduce immigration from the EU27 (and of course to do whatever we wish regarding immigration from the rest of the world, which in fact accounts for a greater proportion of net immigration than the EU27 does).
This is why so many of those who voted Leave in 2016 — which they did precisely because they were attracted by the three benefits you cite — have now become disillisioned with the Brexit process, and in many cases regret their initial vote.
You say “It is not acceptable for the European Union to try to insist on a deal that does not deliver on what the British people voted for in the referendum.” This does not strike me as a realistic position to take. It is not incumbent on the EU to make special arrangements for a departing member, and it can scarely come as a surprise that they are not willing to extend to us the benefits that come with Single Market and Customs Union membersip if we do not pay the associated costs. My view, and that of millions of others, is that only now is this cold hard reality becoming apparent — and that it is in light of that much clearer understanding that the population must be consulted again to determine what they want from among the options actually on offer.
It would be disastrous if the UK were to be removed from the EU against the will of its own population because the Prime Minister refused to allow that population to change its mind. This would be akin to forcing someone to go through with a marriage despite a change of mind during the engagement, due to the inconvenience of cancelling the wedding. I therefore still consider it only reasonable that after May’s proposal is defeated in Tuesday’s vote (as it surely will be) the Government itself should call for a People’s Vote, rather than leaving it for Labour to belatedly propose that what began in democracy must also end in democracy.
Again, thank you for engaging with me on this. I truly appreciate your previous reply, and I hope you will find my reasoning at least interesting even if not ultimately persuasive.
Dr Mike Taylor.
Oakleigh Farm House
As before, I have sent using the very helpful WriteToThem site. If you feel strongly about Brexit, or indeed any other political issue, I urge you to do the same.