Dear Prime Minister,
As you will appreciate, the Government is approaching a critical phase in the Brexit negotiations and the whole country is watching.
In June 2016, the people of the UK voted in historic numbers and by a majority of 1.3 million to leave the EU. In so doing they voted to take control of our laws, money, and borders and they instructed the Government, Parliament and the courts to make this happen. This is the true measure of a successful Brexit. The vast majority also sought a prosperous future outside the EU.
In your splendid Lancaster House speech, you recognised that Brexit can only be achieved if we leave the single market and the customs union and we leave the jurisdiction of the ECJ in its entirety. Since then, it has become very clear from its actions that the priority of the EU is to promote the interests of its 27 other members over those of Britain, and that the EU “project” is of paramount importance. This is a legitimate objective, but it is at odds with the will of the British people. The disposition of the EU has been made clear in our recent meeting with EU chief negotiator M Barnier and through the utterances of President Macron.
The Leave campaign and, in particular, Leave Means Leave, have consistently put forward the belief that the UK can be more prosperous by pursuing global trade, maximising the opportunities arising from the new economic freedoms Brexit will afford. We have also favoured offering the EU a reciprocal trade deal with zero tariffs, as per the Canada deal, an arrangement between two sovereign states unshackled by rules and obligations.
The clock is ticking and we are approaching the last moment at which business can properly prepare for Brexit. Given this, and in order to give business certainty and confidence, and to make Brexit a reality, we now call upon you and the Government to do three things:
1) To declare now what our post-Brexit economic policy will be, taking all the opportunities that our new found economic freedoms afford.
2) To take earnest, visible and practical steps now to prepare for global trade under WTO from March 2019.
3) To offer the EU a “Canada-style” reciprocal trade arrangement with heads of terms to be agreed by July this year and details agreed by October. The EU has made it clear that such a deal would be acceptable and, therefore, there should be no impediment to a swift resolution. If the EU rejects the Canada offer, we would be able to press ahead with global trade under WTO and take the opportunity of our new economic freedoms. No trade deal should be agreed which fails to be as good as global trade under WTO rules.
A Canada style deal is a good outcome for the UK covering 98 per cent of goods and 92 per cent of agriculture and would obviate the need for a transition period, thus bringing forward in time the benefits of Brexit.
In addition, we should expect that all administrative arrangements will be agreed by October, such as Open Skies, border control, and visa arrangements.
It should be made clear that Britain will deliver its tacit agreement on EU payments as they fall due, but only if the above conditions are met.
We assure you that you have our support in pursuing the result that the British people voted for.
Rt Hon David Jones MP, former Minister of State, Department for Exiting the European Union
Rt Hon the Lord Lawson of Blaby, Former Chancellor of the Exchequer
Rt Hon Owen Paterson MP, former Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Sir Gerald Howarth, Board member of Leave Means Leave
The Viscount Ridley
John Longworth, Co-Chair of Leave Means Leave, entrepreneur and former Director-General of the British Chambers of Commerce
Richard Tice, CEO of Quidnet Capital Partners LLP, Co-Chair of Leave Means Leave
John Fifield, Leave Means Leave Ambassador, Chairman of Fifield Glyn Ltd
Judith Donovan CBE, Leave Means Leave Ambassador
Richard Patient, Founder of Thorncliffe (signed in personal capacity)
Tim Martin, Chairman of JD Wetherspoon plc
Emma Pullen, Managing Director of The British Hovercraft Company Ltd
Simon Boyd, Managing Director of Reidsteel
Alastair MacMillan, Director of White House Products Ltd
Lance Forman, Owner of H.Forman & Son
John Mills, Entrepreneur and Economist
Neville Baxter, Chairman of RH Development
Johnnie and Arabella Arkwright, Owners of Hatton Adventure World
Tilly Carefoot, CEO and Owner of Singletons Dairy
Alan Hastings, Secretary, Fishing for Leave
Arun Ahluwalia, Businessman
Sir John Nott
Christopher Nieper, Businessman
Danny Corrigan, Trustee & Board Member of Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment and former CEO CME Trade Repository Ltd
Edgar Miller, Convener, Economists for Free Trade
Professor Patrick Minford, Chairman of Economists for Free Trade
Roger Bootle, Economists for Free Trade
Neil MacKinnon, Economists for Free Trade
Professor Kevin Dowd, Durham University
Professor Michael Loretto
Professor Gwythian Prins
Professor Andrew Demaine
Professor Howard Morris
Professor Robert Tombs
Lieutenant-General Jonathon Riley
Colonel Richard Kemp
Professor Angus Dalgleish
Major-General Julian Thompson
Rear-Admiral Roger Lane-Nott