The PM taking a serious question from a fellow Conservative during PMQs

The Independent describes how David Cameron’s own MPs turn on their leader during PMQs and it includes this question from Peter Bone…

“What the Prime Minister has said today on Europe is right – we have to go and campaign. But I remember what you [the Speaker] have said today about notifying members if we want to go to their constituency, so can I say to the Prime Minister, a group of global-looking Leave campaigners will be descending on Witney at lunchtime this Sunday.

“I will be there, and will the Prime minister be able to join us? And given what he’s just said, would he confirm that if the country votes to leave will he be able to stay on as Prime Minister and negotiate the exit?”

And the Prime Minister’s reply…

“Well first of all, I’m very sorry I won’t be able to meet my honourable friend. I’m making an appearance on the Andrew Marr programme on Sunday, but I would recommend he goes to the Fleece pub in Whitney and spends as much time and as much money there rather than anything else…”

These Conservatives do seem to be taking this referendum thingy terribly seriously.

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What do you do if you just want to remain in the Single Market?

First of all, Vote Leave do not speak for me and their vision of Britain outside the EU is vastly different to mine. For one I do not see what is so bad about the Single market, my main concern is I do not like the political governance aspect of the EU.

Which means I will vote to leave the EU then rely upon David Cameron to negotiate for Britain to stay in the Single Market, most likely by joining EFTA and the EEA.

Given that David Cameron is wedded to the idea of being in the Single Market and his arguments about having a say in the way Single Market rules are written are almost an add on, I can quite easily see him doing that. Now the majority of MPs in the House of Commons are talking about supporting an EEA option that keeps us in the Single Market.

Politically it means if Britain votes to leave the EU there could be a trade-off between leaving the EU but staying in the Single Market that could get political support in the HoC. That would be a tenable negotiating position.

It also seems that the EEA option is the only option that would be offered to Britain by the EU.

The real point is we have to leave the EU and then sort out all our other problems later. And politicians will have the added incentive to sort out those problems because they will be answerable only to the British electorate.

And the British electorate are the missing ingredient in all the debates on TV and in the papers.

The only thing that counts in this referendum is what the British electorate decide as the answer to the question Should Britain remain in the European Union or should Britain leave it.

It is not the crippled policies from a few people at heart of the Vote Leave campaign that will decide the future relationship with the European Union, if Britain votes to Leave it will be Britain’s best interests that will decide Britain’s negotiating position.

A national debate about the future of Britain may well ensue, and it will not be at the hands of a few disgruntled euroscptics, everyone will be part of that debate including those who voted remain, it is their country as well.

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Flexcit Stage One

Leaving the EU will have significant geopolitical and economic consequences. But we believe it is unrealistic to expect a clean break, immediately unravelling forty years of integration in a single step. Following a vote in a referendum and an Article 50 notification, therefore, we have set out a process of phased separation and recovery.

In all, we identify six phases, where we expect progress to be driven by political realities. In the first phase, which deals with the immediate process of leaving the EU, we believe that an agreement must be sought within the initial two year period allowed in the formal Article 50 exit negotiations. We also believe continued participation in the EU’s Single Market will be necessary, for the short to medium term.

The six phases involve both short-term and longer-term negotiations, to achieve a measured, progressive separation. In the first phase, there are three possible ways of securing an exit. One is by rejoining the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and trading with the remaining EU member states through the European Economic Area(EEA) – the so-called Norway Option. Another is the “shadow EEA” and the third we call the “Australian process”.

As part of the first phase, we would repatriate the entire body of EU law, including that pertaining to agriculture and fisheries. This would not only ensure continuity and minimise disruption – and reduce what would otherwise be massive burdens on public and private sector administrations – but also buy time for a more considered review of the UK statute book.

We would continue co-operation and co-ordination with the EU at political and administrative levels, where immediate separation of shared functions is neither possible nor desirable in the short term.

These would include the research programme (Horizon 2020), the Single European Sky and the European Space Programme, certain police and criminal justice measures, joint customs operations, third country sanitary and phytosanitary controls, anti-dumping measures, and maritime surveillance. Such issues are in any event best tackled on a multinational basis, and there is no value in striking out on our own just for the sake of it.

Thus, the first phase is limited to a smooth, economically neutral transition into the post-exit world. It lays the foundations for the UK to exploit its independence, without trying to achieve everything at once. Subject to a referendum to approve the initial exit agreement, the basic framework for a withdrawal could be in place within two years of starting negotiations.


from Flexcit The Market Solution to leaving the EU by Dr Richard A E North with Robert Oulds of the Bruges Group and the assistance of readers of

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The Noise Is Getting Louder

Just looking at yesterday’s stories.

Cameron says Brexit would put a bomb under the economy.

Pro-EU MPs will keep Britain in the Single Market.

The pound falls as opinion polls report growing support for Brexit.

And – wait for it, wait for it, – talk of constitutional crisis.

Yawn……….. Wake me up when it’s all over please.

I am reminded that David Cameron in his Bloomberg speech said this:-

“I understand the appeal of going it alone, of charting our own course. But it will be a decision we will have to take with cool heads. Proponents of both sides of the argument will need to avoid exaggerating their claims.

Of course Britain could make her own way in the world, outside the EU, if we chose to do so. So could any other Member State.”

So, cool heads and no exaggerated claims is the order of the day. How does that square with putting a bomb under the economy and talk of a constitutional crisis if we don’t leave the Single Market after a leave vote?

On that last point, the question on the referendum ballot paper concerns whether we remain in or leave the European Union, no mention of the Single Market.

Here’s a suggestion.

The simple way to defuse the economic uncertainty is for David Cameron to adopt the EFTA/EEA option, where Britain, if it decides to leave the European Union will seek to stay in the Single Market by joining EFTA and through that the EEA.

What effect would this have? Trade with the EU would continue as before making much of the economic uncertainty disappear. Yes there will be unknowns but Britain’s trading relationship with the EU will remain very similar to the trading relationship it has now. The markets will be calmer, the Brexit time bomb will not go off, and the pound will stabilise.

As June 23rd approaches if the Leave campaign gathers a plausible lead and keeps it going into polling day the Chancellor and the Prime Minister will presumably have to reiterate their commitment to the Single Market.

For Britain, being in the EFTA/EEA will not be an ideal arrangement but it will be a useful transition until Britain negotiates a lasting deal more suited to its circumstances. That may take some years.

For the rest, Dr. Richard North has it that the debate is going underground. And so the legacy media can whip up whatever frenzy they like because people are tuning out. They are taking their discussions to social media and getting their information from more reliable sources, leaving the noisemakers to do what they do best – make noise.

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How Dare She

This is our leave campaign. How dare Penny Mordaunt appear on Marr and tell us that the UK does not have a veto over Turkey joining the EU.

It has been called out as completely and utterly false. And as such her words should be retracted.

Britain does have a veto on Turkish entry into the EU. Every member state has a veto, the decision for Turkey to join has to be unanimous. It only takes one member state to vote against Turkey joining and they will not get in.

It matters not one jot that Britain has been encouraging Turkey in its application to join and that Penny Mordaunt thinks that when the time comes to formally consider Turkey’s application Britain will have no say. Britain will exercise its treaty bound obligation, and vote according to its declared national interest and whether that vote is yes or no that will be an act completely at odds with having no say over the matter.

This referendum campaign should not be a campaign of lie and counter lie. There are genuine points of issue here that should be brought out into the open. There are good and positive reasons for Britain to leave the EU, not least being that outside the EU Britain will get the trading relationship it said it always wanted. And it would be a trading relationship without the political baggage that comes with being accountable to EU institutions and without the highest court in the land being the European Court of Justice.

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Leaving the EU

Leaving the EU without losing millions of jobs and without the entire economy being at stake should be uppermost in the prime minister’s mind and yet the prime minister speaks as if he is an unimportant actor in this. He speaks as if he will have no influence on the way we leave the EU.

He could for example, negotiate to remain in the single market by rejoining EFTA and through that the EEA.

The prime minister is the one person who could do all of that if he wants to. It would be a pretty good way to lay the economic argument to rest and make a transition out of the EU relatively painless and risk free.

The prime minister has given the British electorate the decision as to whether we leave the EU or not, so he should stop telling us what we have to do. He is not the only one capable of giving advice about the best options and quite frankly he is not giving very good advice. In fact he is propagandising with all sorts of scare stories about loss of jobs and the likelihood of war should we leave. He should be talking about realistic alternatives.

Leaving the EU is a realistic proposition. There are advantages and disadvantages to being an independent free trading nation. In my opinion the chief advantage is in the area of governance where Britain will once more be responsible. We will be able to make our own trade treaties, we will gain back control in areas of fishing and agriculture and Britain will once more decide its own defence and foreign affairs policies.

Leaving the EU will give Britain considerable freedom to act in domestic affairs. And where international rules and regulations are formed in international standards setting bodies, Britain will be there in its own right, joining in and helping to create rules that will become our laws.

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Why should we be shackled by the EU?

Why should we give up our right to self-expression and self-representation as a nation by being in the EU?

On international standard setting bodies such as UNECE and WTO we have to adopt the common position agreed by members of the EU. We cannot deviate from this, this means we cannot represent the British position. It is all very well to agree to work together with other nations for certain outcomes, but to give up the right to express yourself at the international level means Britain no longer represents Britain, it represents the EU. In other words at an international level Britain is being erased. Where Britain has to adopt the common EU position, it has no choice in the matter, its voice is not heard. Britain no longer represents Britain, it represents the EU.

Eventually the only international arena in which Britain will be able to truly represent itself will be inside the EU and because of Qualified Majority Voting (QMV) it can be out voted.

The only way to make our voice heard is to be outside the EU.

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