Claiming that Brexit is compatible with retaining single market membership is an insult to Leave voters

Claiming that Brexit is compatible with retaining single market membership is an insult to Leave voters

REIDSteel is a medium-sized enterprise founded in 1919 and we specialise in the design, manufacture and construction of all types of structural steelwork.  We work throughout the UK and have exported to over 140 countries across the world to date.

Our company’s fight against our membership of the EU started in the 1990s when we started to see the slow demise of British standards and their replacement with Eurocodes. But the realisation of the regulatory burden as a result of our membership would only start to truly reveal itself over the following years.

In 2007 I started in earnest to fight against the seemingly never-ending burden of damaging EU directives and regulations and today, despite more than 17 million UK citizens voting to leave and take back control, many politicians continue to promote membership of the single market.

There is much fuss created over “Soft v Hard Brexit”, but let’s cut to the chase: the message from the British public was clear that we are to leave the EU and to do this we must leave the single market.

The single market dictates the following key principles:

  1. Free movement of people
  2. Payment of a significant membership fee
  3. The UK follows EU directives and regulations
  4. Supremacy of the European Court of Justice over UK courts

The British people want:

  1. Control over immigration (not no immigration)
  2. To stop sending vast sums of money to Brussels
  3. For us to make our own rules and regulations for which we are able to hold our elected Members of Parliament to account
  4. Sovereignty to be held by our courts and our elected Members of Parliament

In summary: “to take back control”.

Notwithstanding the above, the single market has been a complete disaster for UK plc. Since our membership of the common market in 1972 there has never been a year where we have sold more in goods (where the majority of jobs are created) to the EU than they have sold to us. The surplus in services has never been enough to wipe out this deficit. The only area where UK plc makes a net surplus is in our trade with other countries outside the EU.

For some politicians to pretend that we can still have Brexit and retain our membership of the single market is an insult to those that voted for Leave. It is nothing more than a deliberate attempt to change the referendum result.

In addition to the four key principles above that the British people voted for, British businesses like ours want to see trade agreements world-wide rather than us being tied to the EU tariff zone; a return of our fisheries; and responsibility for our own standards.  Like many other businesses that export to the EU, we will simply maintain the standards required to trade into the single market as those in other countries which are outside the EU already do.

Many a protest will be made in the months to come over the difficulties in negotiation – all of which will emanate from the powerful multi-nationals and Remain politicians who see retention of our membership of the single market as a way of undoing the referendum result.

We must set out our negotiating position and that must include that we do not need nor want the single market. We should tell the EU this now and if they want to commit financial suicide (I wouldn’t put it past the Brussels elite) then they’d best get on with it and we will survive and prosper under WTO rules.

We must do this and on the belief that if we get anything better out of the negotiations over access to the single market, then it’s a bonus. Setting out this position clearly now will steady our business community and derail those who wish to re-run the referendum by stealth and deceit.