By Anne Marie Waters, Party Leader
21st October 2019
Back in 2017, when I was standing in the Ukip leadership election, I made a clear point about the EU – I called it Hotel California, you can check out but you can never leave. I was right.
Leaving the EU should not be difficult. All we have to do is pass a law revoking our membership. We could strike a simple trade deal, we can agree to tariff free access to each other’s markets to keep things flowing, this should present no problems to parties acting in good faith. We know of course that both sides, our Parliament and the EU, are not acting in good faith. Neither wants us to leave (some MPs do of course but they are not the majority) and so frustrating the process is the method that will be used, and has been used, since the referendum result.
Now, the latest developments reveal yet more game-playing by the British Parliament. Boris Johnson has negotiated a deal with the EU. It is not everything we would want, but the EU will never agree to everything we want. That’s the reality.
The primary details of the deal are: a transition period until December 2020, a ‘divorce bill’ of £33bn, the protecting of EU citizens’ rights here and UK citizens’ rights in the EU, and the removal of the controversial ‘backstop’ regarding Northern Ireland, ensuring no hard border on the island. In the new deal, Northern Ireland will leave with the rest of the UK, but will remain regulated by the EU on some products, meaning there will be some checks between NI and the Republic of Ireland, but Northern Ireland can make changes to this as times goes on.
Also of great importance, the day after the transition period ends, the UK can engage in unilateral trade deals. This is what we wanted.
MPs were asked to vote at the weekend whether to approve this deal or not. They didn’t, instead they voted on an Oliver Letwin amendment to delay approval of the deal. This means that the Benn Act, requiring Boris Johnson to request an extension has been triggered. So Johnson has written to the EU, as required by law, to request this extension. He has not signed this however, a move labeled “childlike” by some remainers.
Accompanying the unsigned letter is a signed one stating that a delay would be a mistake. Johnson will now put his deal before MPs again this week. Labour, for their part, are threatening another amendment, demanding a second referendum on the deal, with Remain as an option for voters.
Ministers remain convinced that the deal can be passed in Parliament, and have triggered Operation Yellowhammer, the Government preparation strategy for a no deal Brexit.
The European Union meanwhile has said it will extend until February 2020, or beyond. Of course it will. The EU will continue to allow extension after extension because it has no intention of letting Britain go – at least not without great difficulty, or without keeping us entangled in a variety of areas for years or decades to come: Hotel California, we can leave, but we can’t.
Whatever happens this week, one thing must be clear, we must get out by whichever means. No deal is certainly the preference, but this deal is better than more and more extensions. At least with a deal, we can be officially out, giving us far more power as we deal with individual issues in the coming years. Our military for example, must be untangled from EU arrangements, but this can happen after this deal is struck.
What we can’t do is stay in a minute longer. If we do, that’s British politics for years to come, and this will suit many – both on the Remain and Leave side of the debate. Some leave campaigners won’t agree with this deal because it means the country moving on, and they don’t want that. It would suit Nigel Farage perfectly well to carry this on for years; it keeps him in the limelight. It makes politics all about him and others whose living is made as long as Brexit at the forefront of political debate. This has to end.
If we don’t bring an end to this charade, by whichever means (deal or no deal), the country may well be lost for good. Because while this carries on, so does mass immigration, so does the loss of our free speech, so does the perversion of reality of the trans madness and the subsequent abuse of children, so does the climate change lie which will tax us and instill panic across the board, so does the Islamisation, so does the politicisation of the police. It all continues unabated.
We must bring an end to this now, and confront the other major issues, before it’s too late to ever deal with them at all.