A grubby attempt to keep us in the Single Market would stop us from banning live animal exports

A grubby attempt to keep us in the Single Market would stop us from banning live animal exports

The Europhile establishment – having busied themselves in the wake of our referendum searching for clouds with silver linings – have come up with what they see as a new perfect solution. Losing a referendum need not mean losing the club they love so much. They’ve rebadged the old plain EU membership, where judges in Luxembourg dictate which laws Parliament can and cannot pass, as a new system called Single Market membership. Here Britain is not part of the EU but does not leave the Single Market.

This colossal con would not just challenge Brangelina for the messiest divorce of the year but it would force us to accept the vast majority of EU laws in perpetuity in exchange for a corporatist body of bureaucracy that works for no-one other than the global elite.

Such a grubby compromise wouldn’t just be a tragedy to those who – like me – consider the ability to make our own laws and forge new global trade deals to be matters of great philosophical importance, but a betrayal of the electorate.

Any compromise on sovereignty would prevent the Government meeting the basic demands of the British people ad infinitum. Real promises made to voters in the referendum would be violated. When British voters opted for Brexit in June it was not just immigration on their minds.

Take, for example, live animal exports – a blemish on our society which almost none would defend.

The trade is – to summarise – a system in which British lambs and sheep are ram-packed into lorries before being shipped on an old Soviet Union tank-transporter to the continent. There the animals can be slaughtered on the cheap in a place in which abattoirs are not bound by our strict animal welfare standards.

Passing through my home town of Ramsgate, the sheep face a gruelling, heart-wrenching journey to a certain and grizzly death. Campaigners secured in 2012 a suspension to the trade from the port’s owners, Thanet District Council. In response, the council was landed with a multi-million-pound compensation claim to the shippers from a British judge.

The judge cited ‘TFEU’ (the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union) or Single Market rules – and determined that any block on this trade would be illegal. The Single Market’s rules dictate to Britain what we do and do not allow into ports. Our membership of the institutions of the EU is irrelevant to these measures. Single Market rules mean that British lawmakers are powerless to defend animals from repeated public cruelty.

Live exports were on the ballot in June. We produced posters, launched petitions, issued press releases, the Environment Minister and I held a rally – all with a clear message: Vote Leave and this trade can be banned. Voters were promised that were we to leave the EU the Government could deliver a ban on these exports.

For many voters, this was a cause that led them to Vote Leave. Withdrawing from the institutions of the European Union is not sufficient to accomplish this ban; live exports are enabled by the rules of the Single Market. A complex divorce and a clever rebrand won’t stop live exports and is not what the British public voted for. Any attempt to convince us the public didn’t want out of the Single Market and all that it entails is a fraud, plain and simple.

A messy divorce between Britain and the EU – where we remain in the Single Market – won’t deliver on animal welfare. It’s a betrayal the electorate wouldn’t wear and politicians ought to come out and say it.