A guest post from Gerard Batten MEP
Will Brexit mean Exit? UKIP’s six key tests
Gerard Batten MEP
The UK Independence Party does not want to leave the European Union by means of ‘negotiating’ our way out under Article 50. The EU had absolutely no incentive to negotiate a ‘good deal’ for Britain. Instead, it has every incentive to delay and impede the leaving process in the hope that our political class at Westminster will find a way of overturning the decision of the Referendum.
Instead of using Article 50 UKIP wants Her Majesty’s Government and Parliament to seize the initiative and take control of the leaving process. It can do this by repealing the European Communities Act (1972) as a first step – not a last step – in the leaving process. This would mean we are no longer members of the EU under our law. We can then tell the EU the conditions under which we are leaving and not ask them to dictate them to us.
However, Mrs May has chosen the Article 50 route. That being the case, UKIP therefore lays out our six key tests that will demonstrate if, at the end of the process, we have really left the EU or not.
UKIP’s Six Key Tests
- The Legal Test
Parliament must resume its supremacy of law-making with no impediments, qualifications or restrictions on its future actions agreed in any leaving deal. Britain must wholly remove itself from the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. No undertaking shall be given in the leaving agreement that constrains the UK to being an ongoing member of the European Court of Human Rights.
- The Migration Test:
Britain must resume full control of its immigration and asylum policies and border controls. There must be no impediments, qualifications or restrictions agreed to in any leaving deal. We must not be bound by any freedom of movement obligation. The departure terms must facilitate the Government finally making good on its broken promise to cut annual net migration to the tens of thousands.
- The Maritime Test
Joining the EEC involved a betrayal of our coastal communities at the behest of a previous Tory prime minister. They must not be betrayed again. Leaving the EU must involve restoring to the UK full maritime sovereignty. The UK must resume complete control of its maritime exclusive economic zone – stretching 200 miles off the coast or to the half-way point between the UK and neighbouring countries. We must ensure that no constraint other than its own physical capacity or the needs of stock preservation or replenishment – as decided upon by the UK Parliament – applies to our fleet. This will give our fishing industry a long overdue chance to recover.
- The Trade Test
The UK must retake its seat on the World Trade Organisation and resume its sovereign right to sign trade agreements with other countries. The UK must have full legal rights to set its own tariff and non-tariff barriers consistent with WTO rules. This means leaving the EU single market and customs union. Continued tariff-free trade, with no strings attached, may be offered to the EU, but if the EU declines the offer then WTO terms are the acceptable fall-back position. Post departure, both sides will have the ability to further liberalise trade on the basis of mutual gain.
- The Money Test
There must be no final settlement payment to the EU, and no ongoing payments to the EU budget after we have left. We must also reclaim our share of financial assets from entities such as the European Investment Bank, in which it is estimated that some £9bn of UK money is invested.
- The Time Test
Given that David Cameron held the referendum so early in the Government’s term of office, it is clearly reasonable to expect the Brexit process to be completed well before the next General Election. To go into the 2020 election with loose ends left untied or an open-ended transition still in progress would risk plunging the country into a new era of uncertainty and emboldening those who wish to overturn the referendum result. That is unacceptable. So Brexit must be done and dusted before the end of 2019.
If all six of these basic tests are not met then Britain will not really have left the European Union. The great danger facing us is that we may leave the EU in name but not in reality. UKIP’s main role now is to monitor the leaving process, and to show how it could and should be done. The Referendum was only the first battle to be won. We now have to make sure the decision of the Referendum becomes a reality, and that is still a long way off.