Yesterday, many Labour MPs called for the UK to remain a member of the customs union and single market after we have left the European Union. That means Labour would not allow the UK to take back control of our laws, money, borders, or trade policy and is therefore not consistent with regular claims from politicians making that suggestion that they “accept” and “respect” the referendum result.
In September 2017 West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper said “Let me be clear Brexit is happening, don’t let anyone try to fool you on that. I voted in favour of holding a referendum, I voted in favour of triggering Article 50, and I will continue to vote to represent the will of West Lancashire residents. This Bill is about how we leave the EU, and I could not agree to the power grab where Theresa May and the Tories were trying to take decisions away from Parliament and concentrating it in their own hands.
“We voted to leave the European Union to put power and law-making back in the hands of the British people, not to hand it over to a Tory Cabinet, making decisions behind closed doors. It would be very dangerous to give the Prime Minister a blank cheque before we see what deal can be done. I will continue to vote to ensure Brexit progresses as per the timetable set out, and will scrutinise this Bill when it comes back before Parliament to safeguard our current vital rights and protections”.
Note the words quoted above “We voted to leave the European Union to put power and law-making back in the hands of the British people”. On 26 Jun 2017 Labour MP Caroline Flint said “Those who aim to keep us in the single market know full well that this is EU membership in all but name”. Perhaps Rosie Cooper agrees with her? It isn’t a matter of a power grab any more it’s a matter of the integrity of the nation.
Using HM Treasury forecasts for the UK’s future contributions to the EU budget, it is estimated that: By the end of 2015, the UK’s total contributions to the EU have surpassed half a trillion pounds. Over the next five years, the UK is set to pay a further £96 billion to the EU, with total contributions hitting £600 billion in 2020. ONS figures show the significant amount of money the UK has been forced to give to the EU over the last 40 years: Between joining the then EEC in 1973 and 2014, the UK paid £484 billion into the EU budget (nominal payment as adjusted by the official Government deflator). In 2014 alone, Britain’s gross contribution to the EU budget was £19.1 billion, half of England’s Dedicated Schools Grant, four times the UK’s science budget and over 56 times more than the budget for the NHS’ Cancer Drugs Fund.
Claims by successive British Governments that they have cut the UK’s contributions have proved to be misleading. The EU’s budget is still increasing in cash terms and Britain has a legal obligation to honour any payments that are demanded by the EU but has no control over what those payments will be. Britain’s contributions will remain very high over the coming years while remaining vulnerable to sudden budget demands, such as the recent £1.7 billion ‘surcharge’. This ‘surcharge’ (backdated to 2002) aroused considerable anger within the UK. Prime Minister David Cameron described his ‘downright anger about…the completely unjustified and sudden production of the bill’, and told a press conference: ‘I’m not paying that bill on 1 December, if people think I’m going to they’ve got another think coming.’ The UK did, however, end up paying.
The money that we now send to the EU will be better spent when we take back control over our own rights. Operating on WTO rules from 30th March 2019 would provide businesses with certainty and allow the UK to conduct its own trade policy and remove tariffs to benefit the poorest, bearing in mind the UK state pensions are the worst of any developed countries, worth around 29% of what they had previously been earning. That compares with an average of 63% in other OECD countries.