PM urged to throw down the gauntlet to Brussels
Senior politicians and business leaders have urged the Prime Minister to issue a final ultimatum to Brussels this week – agree to Britain’s Brexit red lines or we will not pay the EU a penny.
The letter, organised by the Leave Means Leave campaign, slams EU negotiators for behaving “in a manner sadly unbecoming of an international body”.
It calls on the Prime Minister to inform European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier that Britain will not make any payment to Brussels unless key conditions are met, including – the UK and the EU agreeing a reciprocal free trade deal without tariffs in principle by March 30th 2018; European Court of Justice jurisdiction over the UK ending from 30th March 2019; and the UK being able to negotiate, sign and implement trade deals with the rest of the world from 30th March 2019.
Signatories of the letter include former cabinet ministers Lord Lawson, Rt Hon Owen Paterson MP and Rt Hon John Redwood MP, senior Conservative Jacob Rees-Mogg MP, Labour MP Graham Stringer, the country’s leading businessmen and entrepreneurs, including Luke Johnson, Tim Martin, John Mills and Peter Hargreaves and top economists Professor Patrick Minford and Roger Bootle.
The Prime Minister is set to meet Mr Juncker and Mr Barnier on Monday (4thDecember) before the summit on 14th and 15th December.
The letter also demands that freedom of movement to the UK for EU citizens should terminate at the end of March 2019 and no new EU regulations should apply after this date; there must be an agreement on the border of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and that “any necessary” implementation period must not exceed two years.
It goes on to say that if EU negotiators agree to all of these red lines during negotiations in December, then Britain should make a “reasonable, realistic and not extortionate goodwill payment”.
It concludes that if the EU refuses to agree to this by the end of the December summit: “The UK – having exhausted every avenue – should suspend its participation in the negotiations and inform the EU that, unless they are prepared to talk to us seriously about a future free trade arrangement, we will revert to World Trade Organisation terms from 30th March 2019”.