Ask people if this is what they really want

Matthew Hobson accuses me of hypocrisy for supporting UK Parliamentary sovereignty and our membership of the European Union.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 14th August 2018, 6:50 am
Updated Tuesday, 14th August 2018, 6:53 am

What Brexiters find hard to understand, or do not want to understand, is that the nations of Europe have voluntarily agreed to pool that part of their sovereignty which concerns the Single Market to ensure that goods and food from any member state are of the same high standard and that all obey high environmental standards, ensuring frictionless trade. (Indeed the nations of Eastern Europe like Poland were keen to join the EU as a guarantee of their future sovereignty after years of foreign occupation.)

The European Court of Justice exists to rule on any dispute on trade within the EU, just as, if we crash out of the EU on World Trade Organisation terms, we would be subject to its ruling body.

Other decisions on our Education and Social Services, the Health Service, transport, taxation levels, austerity etc. are made by our own Parliament, as in other member states, although of course members of the Eurozone have agreed to rules for the single currency.

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For me, more than 70 years of peace in Europe between its major states, with smaller states free from the fear of being overrun by foreign armies, is the greatest benefit of the European Union, after centuries of major and minor wars every few decades.

Friendship and cooperation between the nations of Europe have enabled our continent to become a beacon of hope in the world, though sadly nationalism is again raising its ugly head.

A little pooling of our national sovereignty which has enabled us to live, study, work and holiday in neighbouring countries with the absolute minimum of bureaucracy is of immense benefit to present and future generations.

I am sad that my son and his family feel they have to apply for French citizenship to continue to enjoy the rights they now enjoy as Brits living in France.

It is now very clear two years after the referendum that the claims made by the Leave campaign were not true, whether about extra money for the NHS or the ease of trading with the EU without being a member; we now read of possible food shortages, lorries parked for miles on the M20, and both the City and major manufacturing companies are making contingency plans to move to other EU countries.

Signing a trade deal with President Trump to our benefit looks ever less likely, and we already enjoy 43 international trade deals through the EU, the most recent having just been signed with Japan which wants access to the Single Market, not just the UK.

There is also a huge question mark over the overspending by the Leave campaign, its flouting of electoral law, and use of data by companies like Cambridge Analytica during the referendum.

For all these reasons, on top of the very narrow margin of the result, when the legislation said the referendum should be advisory, it is not unreasonable, when we know what the terms of our leaving actually are, to ask the British people if this is what they really want.

Veronica Hardstaff

Northfield Court, S10