194 countries and territories trade in the EU’s single market without being a member of it

194 countries and territories trade in the EU’s single market without being a member of it

One of the many myths peddled by those who want our country to remain enmeshed in the European Union, despite the clear wishes of the voters to Leave, is that it is vital for us to remain a part of the single market. In fact, this mythology has been further embellished by ridiculous claims that the voters in the referendum did not vote to leave the single market.

Quite apart from the fact that it was made perfectly clear that Brexit meant exactly that by leading figures in the Leave campaign (and Remain campaign for that matter), so that we could put an end to unlimited immigration, among other things, it is the politicians, long after the referendum, who have come up with all the present meaningless buzz phrases like ‘soft Brexit’ and ‘hard Brexit’.

None of these expressions were used in the referendum campaign but they have since become Trojan horses upon which opponents of leaving the EU are trying to build elaborate arguments against obeying the wishes of the British people.

I decided to challenge at least one of the myths we are forced to listen to all the time and put down a written question to the Government asking how many non-EU countries trade in the single market without being a member of it. The answers that came back were split between goods and services and were startling.

It turns out that no fewer than 194 countries and territories manage to trade very successfully in the EU’s single market without actually being a member of it. Click here to find the question and the data that came back from the Government, including the full list of the non-member countries that trade in the single market:

The big countries like the US, Canada, Russia and China are on the list but It turns out that even the Falklands Islands and Tonga manage a thriving trade with the EU! Another EU myth goes up in a puff of smoke.

In a follow-up question, I asked if any of these non-member countries do more trade in the single market than does the UK (the Government failed to answer that part of my original question):

It turns out that the USA, surprisingly, sells more in services to the EU than we do and that China sells more in goods. Not bad for countries that are not even members and it demonstrates yet again that the importance of single market membership has been blown totally out of proportion.

Why are we never told the truth in any argument about EU membership?

Will the European Arrest Warrant be retained after Brexit?

I have also been pushing the Government for some sort of commitment regarding the European Arrest Warrant after Brexit. Worryingly, several of my written questions have generated evasive answers which make it perfectly clear that the Government is not going to commit itself to withdrawing from the EAW and strongly suggest that it may even opt to keep it after Brexit.

Hanging on to various aspects of EU membership, each one undermining our independence, is not what we voted for on 23rd June. This piecemeal approach could seriously damage Brexit.

Moreover, it remains just as wrong as it was from day one, for British citizens to be at the mercy of legal systems such as those found in Greece and some Mediterranean countries, if an EAW is issued against them. The warrant may be for something that is not even a crime in the UK. The myth-peddlers constantly tell us that the EAW is a major weapon in the war against terrorism and organised crime but fail to mention that the vast majority of these warrants are issued for a wide variety of alleged crimes that have nothing to do with either.

For example, we are seeing British citizens hassled for trivial road traffic offences allegedly committed many years after their holiday trip to an EU country. We don’t want or need the EAW and keeping it conflicts with the spirit of Brexit. Click here and here for my questions on the EAW and the Government’s answers:

Second class England
You will probably not be surprised to learn that the Government is once again treating England as a second-class country – this time in the consultations over Brexit. The governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are being properly consulted, but England is reliant on the DCLG and the Local Government Association for its input, as you will see from this written question and answer.

As the forces opposed to Brexit continue to gather strength, be it anti-democratic MPs threatening to vote against triggering Article 50, legal challenges in the High Court and an appeal in the Supreme Court and now suggestions that it may be challenged in the European Courts, the Government’s continued inaction is becoming untenable. It must take decisive steps to get on with Brexit before it finds that the power to take Britain out of the EU has been taken away or made to be so complicated that it will stretch out over many years to come.

I hold to my belief that the Government made a major error in not setting in motion the repeal of the European Communities Act 1972, straight after the referendum. The power of the European Courts over our affairs would immediately be nullified and Parliament would have full control, which is what everyone seems to want!