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How do we leave the EU?

The very first thing we should do now we have voted to leave the EU is to call a general election. Unless the government of the day had stood on a platform of exiting the EU, and had a solid exit plan, this would be fairly mandatory. The fact that none of the main political parties are offering a leave EU manifesto means they will not be equipped with an acceptable exit strategy. David Cameron supported the stay in EU campaign, and has now announced he will be stepping down in October 2016 as PM. This is the correct choice, but all other ministers who supported the remain campaign should consider their own positions and resign their posts if they are unable to commit 100% to Britain leaving the EU.

David Cameron called a referendum on 23rd June 2016, and the country voted by a majority of 52% to 48% to leave.. What was his plan if we voted to leave? Had he even contemplated the possibility? Considering he campaigned to stay in the EU that seems unlikely. Britain, following our vote to leave the EU needs a government committed to extracting us from the machinery of the EU and setting the country up as a self-governing independent nation. There is no place in such a government for Europhile MP’s or Ministers, even Eurosceptic has become meaningless. An additional issue is that the vast majority of existing MPs are totally unsuitable for self-government, the EU has taken away so much governance (something like 80%), that our MPs will not be able to take on all the roles currently run from the EU. Our MPs don’t actually have a lot to do, they just talk a lot.

Another reality is that we would not be able to just leave, after invoking article 50 of the Lisbon treaty we would need a roadmap on leaving in an orderly fashion. We would have to repatriate powers gradually and re-enact them under UK Parliament control. Very quickly we would want our national parliament to have primacy over any EU institution, and re-establish the primacy of the British judiciary over any body such as the European Court of Justice. In all likelihood we are going to need a new British constitution and maybe an amended Bill of Rights, based on the 1689 Bill and Petition of Rights, this would also mean we would repeal the Human Rights act and the European Convention on Human Rights – and replace them with our own legislation.

We do already have one huge advantage – we are not in the euro, one less issue to worry about.

Another very important step would be to announce a sunset clause on every regulation and directive issued by the EU, something like 12 months. That way, if there are any we want to retain (even temporarily) they can be prioritised and extended as necessary. The vast majority would then just expire after the twelve months and disappear. Any retained would be amended as required and re-worked as a statute under British law and not EU law. There may actually be some we actually do want, the EU is certainly not all bad, some things have improved during our tenure in the organisation.

We would also want to quickly establish control of our borders and remove the automatic right of other EU citizens to enter the UK, whilst accepting that UK citizens will lose the right to free movement to other remaining EU member states. There should be no attempt to repatriate any EU citizens already here at the time, but we should remove automatic right to benefits for any not in employment. Rights of residence and citizenship should be made consistent with citizens from any other non-EU nation, or amended as WE see fit, it will be our immigration policy not the EU’s. We may even decide to re-sign the Schengen Agreement and allow free movement to continue, or maybe not.

An expedient way to deal with trading with the EU may be to initially sign up to the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) which is the way that Norway and Switzerland currently trade with the EU. The EU sells much more to the UK, than we sell to them, so it is absurd to suggest the EU would not want to trade with us, currently we operate something like a £50 billion annual trading deficit with the EU. We may want to buy our goods elsewhere, and possibly cheaper. We can also elect to remove all trade tariffs allowing us to buy more goods from third world countries, who currently can’t afford to sell to us (EU) and that will boost their economies and reduce their dependence on foreign aid. Being able to sell their goods is much more beneficial to third world countries than foreign aid that rarely gets to the people who need it in those countries.

It is estimated that withdrawal from the EU would directly benefit Britain to the tune of around £60 billion per year, that is around half of our current annual deficit. Indirectly we could save something in the order of £300-400 billion, although this would not be direct savings to the government. British (mainly small) businesses could save something in the region of £100-200 billion per year by being freed from compliance to EU mandated regulations and directives. That would allow them to employ more people, which reduces the welfare budget and increases tax revenue. Additionally scrapping unnecessary EU mandated QUANGO’s could save around £60 billion per year. Freed from the forced importing of goods from the EU, for more than we could purchase elsewhere, would help reduce our annual trade deficit. Removing trade tariffs would allow us to purchase food and other goods much cheaper.

Free to operate as we choose we could start the process of reducing the size of government,  most departments are vastly over-sized and over staffed, many QUANGOs could be scrapped or combined and those required could be integrated back under parliamentary control.  Parliament itself should be reduced, Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland should either have their assembles or representation in Westminster, not both, the assemblies only exist because of the EU, but the regions may decide that is how they wish to continue, therefore they would relinquish their Westminster seats and have elected representation when deliberating British issues.

Free from EU influence we could reduce or abolish our current commitments to International Aid, and instead operate on a basis of humanitarian aid, and sponsoring specific projects in impoverished countries via voluntary and charitable aid agencies. That way money is not paid to dictators to line their own pockets to the detriment of the intended recipients. Give them food, clothing, machinery and assistance, don’t give them money which will never directly benefit them.

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